Do you have a list of all the people you like to remember with a gift at the holidays? I keep my gift list on my computer because I’d otherwise forget who is supposed to be on the list and then I’d overlook someone. That would be awful, wouldn’t it?
The list on my computer keeps me from forgetting. Besides, I then look at last year’s list and remember what I gave. It’s all meant to make life easier.
This year, I printed the list, shook my head and decided it is just too long. I’m naming this the year of change, the year when I’ll pull back, when I take the time to reconsider whether a gift is still suitable. I’ll also decide what kind of a gift that should be.
On the other hand, I may decide to keep most of the names and change the kind of gift I’ll give. Gifts are meant to celebrate the spirit of the season and not necessarily the value of the object.
The spirit of the season, not the value of the object.
Let’s look at a couple of questions to ask when looking at your list:
Why do I give to that person? Are they someone I value? What do I want to achieve by sending a gift? Of course we gift those who are dearest in our lives. We may also decide to gift people whom we value even though we don’t often see them.
What is the right kind of gift for that person? What types of gifts express the value I place on that person?
Can I sort my list into gift types? My kids and immediate family get special gifts that are chosen each and every year. What friends and less immediate family? What about more distant friends or family whom you value; can they be grouped for similar kinds of gifts? And, don’t forget neighbors, the postal person and other service providers.
Every gift doesn’t need to be unique and hand-selected each and every year. In fact, certain kinds of gifts when given each and every year take on their own life. Often, your recipients anticipate their arrival and are delighted at their arrival. Here, I’m thinking of pears from Harry & David or a wreath from Christmas Greens Shop. What’s especially wonderful about these gifts is that they are quick and easy yet they make your recipient happy.
Okay, so let’s now take a glance at types of gifts that can feel personal yet can send the special message you wish to send.
Seasonal. The aforementioned pears and Christmas wreaths fit here. There are loads of choices from jams or nuts to poinsettias or Christmas cactus. What suits your gifting style?
Donations. Whether you give to the same organization or to a different one each year, honoring others through a donation makes everyone feel good.
You might decide to choose the organization that best serves an immediate need such as the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. For that you could choose to support international medical assistance teams through Clarion Global Response or the Red Cross.
Or, you may choose to give to the same organization every year. That links you most closely to that organizations mission. If you wish to express the strength of your commitment to a specific organization, you may even enclose an item that organization sells – from a Red Cross back pack to a Women for Women cookbook, there are many possibilities to increase understanding of that organization’s work.
Homemade. Whether you bake or knit or paint, your giftees will surely enjoy something you created by hand.
Books – CDs – DVDs. You may choose to share your favorite-of-the-year with your giftees, whether it’s a book, cd or movie. Or, you may choose a special book, piece of music or movie for each of your giftees.
Just as we make a split-second assessment as we meet someone new, so, too, do we make instant decisions about gifts. How the gift is presented sets the stage for delight. That doesn’t mean you need to spend fortunes on wrapping. Whether you choose newspapers or maps or the paper bought at the store, making it visually satisfying changes the experience.
By the way, if you are a disaster at wrapping, why not buy a gift bag or a nice box?
When gifting a donation, there are many choices. You can have the organization do all the work, sending an announcement to your list of recipients. Or, you may choose to download their announcement so you can personalize it.
Back to the original point, gifting is in the spirit of the season – in your own special voice.