Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preparing Gifts

It's that time of year again where people get stressed out.  Worried about parties and money and gifts.  Worried about family tensions, loneliness, drama, you name it.  A time to celebrate new life, God's love, and the joy of giving to another person is eclipsed by everything else.

When will I get all the baking done?  What will I buy this person that they will like?  But I have no money for gifts!

Someone commented to me the other day "I don't do $5 gifts."  What?  Really?  Isn't it the thought that counts?  No one wants junk.  I get that.  But a $5 gift doesn't necessarily mean junk.  It might be all the person has to give.  It might be the perfect little thoughtfulness.  I know you like Hershey Kisses so, here's an ornament with a hershey kiss inside.  I know you like U2 and this downloaded single of theirs made me think of you.  I know you like candles so I made you one in your favorite color.

It's the thought and love behind a gift that matter.  Not the price.  Not the obligation.  The thought.  NOBODY should go broke over the Holidays trying to outbuy, outgive, or impress another person.  And we should be grateful for the thought behind a gift received.  Not only do we need to be gracious givers, but also gracious receivers. 

I remember when a very well-meaning aunt gave me a unicorn necklace.  I was a bit too old for that sort of thing.  But she had remembered my infatuation with them at a younger age.  So, when she saw it, she bought it for me. 

The point was, that she thought of me and purchased something that she thought I would like and enjoy.  She may have missed the mark a bit, but I was gracious because I knew that she had chosen the gift with thoughtfulness.  And it truly was the thought that counted.  The love I felt was much more important than the actual object itself.  It's been a couple of decades since that gift and, yet, I still remember it.

As you prepare your gifts for this Holiday season, I encourage you to think of your recipients.  As you wrap their present, say a little prayer for them.  Add a special note.  It's not the money, but the thought and love that goes into it.  Try to enjoy the process of buying, making, and giving gifts.  It's a chance to show your love and care for someone.  Embrace that and let go of the stress.

In this year of unemployment again, I've had to shorten my list of gifts to buy and reduce the amount I spend on the rest of my gifts.  But, with each gift goes thought, love, and care and so I'm not worried.  I'm also fortunate that my friends and family all happen to be very gracious recipients!! 

Focus on the love in both your giving and receiving and embrace the joy of the season.

Is there a gift that you have received in the past that didn't cost much but meant a lot to you?  Please share it with us in the comments!

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