Giving gifts and presents isn't a new practice (it's been happening for thousands of years) but with all the hype I think we have gotten a little caught up in the need to give something physical or that has cost us money rather than out love, time and attention. Now that Christmas is nearly here I'm going to make a little suggestion for a gift that you can give this christmas without spending a bean or fretting over getting it right.
I adore giving gifts. Even more than I love receiving them, which is quite a lot ;) I love handing over a gift that I know someone is going to love because I put the time and energy into making sure that I got them something they will truly enjoy, or at least find useful. I'm not a fan of clutter either so handing over mindless crap feels wasteful and icky. I really believe that giving a thoughtful gift doesn't just show you care but also has the potential to light them up.
Giving a gift can be just as wonderful as receiving one. In fact, research shows that it is often the giver that experiences the most psychological rewards. Knowing that someone is grateful for and takes enjoyment from your gift to them is a gift in itself. Not to mention that exchanging gifts helps to shape and strengthen our relationships. So you're going to want to make those gifts meaningful!
My whole philosophy of giving can be summed up as follows:
Less duty more love.
Generosity is one of my highest values, one of my Core Desired Values (witness Danielle LaPorte’s sass in the video below) and something I am aways trying to embody and live by, even if it’s just a letter to my bestie every now and then or helping someone else with their work. But I don’t do something generous because I feel I ought to - I want to. I want to see the smile on their face when I get it just right, turn a bad day around or buy them something they would never buy themselves. Seriously, I get high on generosity!
But it’s not too late to give a beautiful gift!
It might be Christmas Eve but if you haven’t gotten round to sorting a present for some of your loved ones yet then all is not lost, I promise. We have this idea that the most valuable things that we can give to someone are, well, things. But, honestly, that’s just not the case. The whole ‘it’s the thought that counts’ sentiment is true but we often misuse it and assume that just giving any old gift is better than rocking up empty handed. I’m pretty certain that you could give something far more thoughtful and valuable than a bottle of wine (unless, of course, they'd appreciate a good bottle of organic red) or something that’ll get stuffed into the present draw for someone else...
This Christmas give your Presence, not presnets.
Yep, no money or preparation required for this one! You might feel a little mean or awkward turning up empty handed, but I promise you they will be more than happy with just a card and your full attention and presence. It would be great if we all gave our undivided attention to people when ever we are with them, but all too often that just isn't the case, what with iPhones, social media, laptops and the constant distractions of this busy-body world. So there is really no reason to feel stingey when you log-off and actually listen to what the other person is saying. Engage with them. Be present and forget the rest for just one day.
What’s their love language?
Have you ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? There is a theory that people express and experience love in 5 ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch and receiving gifts. All of these things are gifts in my view, just not the material kind. Each of us has a preference and Gary Chapman suggests that we ought to communicate with our loved ones in their preferred language in order to express our love for them better. So maybe what your mum would really appreciate this Christmas is your help loading the dishwasher, your siblings might need a good heart-to-heart and your pet might want a cuddle! When you do any of these things, it requires your presence.
And for next year….Some tips for giving more thoughtful gifts:
1. Stockpile ideas through your the year. Did they mention something that they would love but never buy themselves? What do they always pick up but then put back down when you are out shopping together? What is their ideal day out? Keep a note either in your phone, computer or on paper of all the potential presents you could buy your loved ones so that you are never short of ideas as their birthday or any other special occasion approaches.
2. Look out for cards that they’ll love. Even if all you plan to do is send them a card, make it extra special by getting one that will make them laugh, smile or cry (in a good way). I buy cards for people whenever one catches my eye or makes me think of someone else. I have enough cards for one of my bestie's next 3 birthdays! Trust me they will appreciate the extra thought.
Merry Christmas, friends!!
I hope you have a wonderful time and remember to stay present with your loved ones. Give them love, even when they bring your gears!
P.S. Are we Insta-pals yet? Follow me on Instagram for more festive magic.
Gift image via Shereen M