There are all kinds of giving, not just at the holidays, but year round. Gifts don't have to come in boxes smartly wrapped or in a nice check slipped into a card. But, when gifts are exchanged, most of us want to reciprocate.
How we reciprocate depends on many things, not the least of which is how much we care about the receiver. Then it may depend on how much we are able to give, not just how much we want to give. And truly knowing the receiver is most important of all.
If we know the recipient very well, we may know exactly what will bring them joy. Are they avid readers of a particular genre? Completely immersed in a sport? Struggling to afford an education? Or do they have everything? What will truly delight them? That should be the goal.
If they have everything money can afford, perhaps they know the real gift in life is time together. A person who truly loves the giver will receive time with full appreciation. In fact, it may be at the top of their most wanted list.
The beauty of the gift of time is that we can all give it to those we truly love. And it is perfect for rich and poor to both give and receive.
If we give to receive or to impress or because we believe we must, there is no joy involved. That kind of giving needs to stop. Imagine a world where all gifts are given with joy.
No gift needs
to stand alone.
Every gift needs to
be given with a
piece of ourselves.
Is there anything better than a visit with a loved one who shares their life with us and cares about ours? I remember time with my grandmother so much more than I remember her gifts of money, even though I needed those too. Grammy listened so intently and loved doing it. When I talked to her, there was no one else in her universe and I knew how much she loved me. There is no greater gift.
No gift needs to stand alone. Every gift needs to be given with a piece of ourselves.
I received a Halloween card on the date this year with the Hairy Beast on it. My sister sent it to me first in 1986. We were already sending a birthday card back and forth with little comments that had an image of the Hairy Beast on the cover. The birthday card read, "Dear Sister, I care enough to send the Hairy Beast."
Both the birthday and the Halloween cards are tattered by now and, along with their torn envelopes, need to be inserted in new, larger envelopes. They are such simple examples of what love shares and are better than any gift in a box, no matter how grand.
When the day comes when one of us is absent, Hairy Beast may be the consoler. Reading the little comments summarizing our years of sharing are concrete evidence of what a true gift love can give that never grows old or goes away.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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