The Gifts We Give and Get

(This post is a part of the #reverb16… what’s that? Check it out!)
cow heifer internationalGifts giving and gift receiving is inevitable from here on out until the 25th and beyond. With that in mind, today’s prompt asks us to slow down and consider…

Prompt 7: White Elephant: What are the gifts you’re looking forward to giving, or hoping to receive?

The last few years, gift shopping stressed me out. Three of my four kids have their birthdays in October and December. Pair that with Halloween costumes, hockey tournaments, Thanksgiving arrangements and future vacation planning and well… the holidays got a bit less jolly.

I used the FlyLady’s technique of “Cruising Through the Holidays” for a couple of years and it really paid off. However, I found I ended up STILL buying items for the kids and hubs AFTER December 1 (shopping deadline!) and spending more money than I liked.

This year, I set a different goal. Inspired by a new client, Joan Law of Feng Shui Joan’s Way, I am trying to be truly thoughtful about the items I ask others to bring into their life.

  • Do they need or want it?
  • Is the gift a reflection of the way they live or their ideology?
  • Is it a consumable they will enjoy?
  • Or is it something they will feel guilty about hanging onto?

Third-Hand Gifts for Strangers

The kids in my religious ed class at our church are hosting a Heifer International sale this weekend.

My co-teacher came up with the idea of making Sculpey animal ornaments to offer at the sale. Consumers can “Buy a Pig” or “Flock of Chicks,” for example, as a “gift” for a family member who has everything. The item is then given to a family in need in a third world country.

The gift giver gets to write a card and deliver a beautiful handmade ornament made by the kids to their recipient.

A Change in POV

When I asked my friend, Hugh, today about the holidays, he said: “Yeah, you know… it’s all about the kids. Love seeing it through their eyes.”

I agreed with him, but I thought it’s more than that. The holidays are a chance to surprise people with love and grace. To give something of yourself that you weren’t expecting to give.

At some point gift giving is no longer about a mere “thought”… it’s about really thinking about other people and seeing the world from their point of view.

To me, that’s the White Elephant. Can I give a true gift.. and not something that takes up space?

You May Also Like:

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

Tags: