Sunday, December 7, 2008

The small gifts of yourself

This time of year has in my humble opinion become a good thing that has gotten out of hand. I don't think the meaning of the season should be retail controlled emotions. I know I have in the past, so I can speak from experience, gone into debt buying presents that I felt obligated to give and then wondered if they were enough and adequate. How is that for double stress? How many of you remember all the gifts you have received over the years? When you give small gifts of your time and yourself you create memories that last forever.

I spent 25 years away from family, except for my wife and daughter. We were off in other parts Of the world serving in the military. We got out of the habit of buying for everyone except for just ourselves and our daughter. Now we still follow that not giving but not expecting either. I'm the first to help when someone needs a hand but never want someone to feel obligated to give back more than their friendship.

I went to wife and daughter about 5 years ago and said "We get each other stuff that most of the time we don't even want and spend way to much doing it, why don't we get laptop PCs for each of us and wireless routing instead of the traditional pile of stuff under the tree". They liked the idea and we didn't miss the old way. I have stuff in drawers I have received and never wore or used. My laptop gets used every day.

What if you decided to give someone your friendship instead of a gift. Take aunt Mary out for dinner instead of buying her the cute widget that will never see the light of day again. Be up front, I'm taking you out for dinner as my Christmas gift to you. Or help someone do something they need to have done. Like maybe getting back into shape, a training partner and coach would be a wonderful gift to a spouse.

How about a gift that is lasting, like a collage class to learn a foreign language or a trade school class to learn to do wood working. If you took it together you could have a new together hobby.

Whatever you give do it from the heart not from a feeling of obligation that the retail industry has pressed upon you.

Thanks for reading.

Frozen Panda

1 comment:

denise said...

Years ago when the kids were little and had so many toys and things to open, we were so busy with them and their gifts we didn't have time to open ours. We finally decided that we would buy for them and not us. We started to go out to dinner just the 2 of us and buy something that we would like to have. Either a piece of art for the house, new watches, wedding bands etc. Now the kids are older and we spend the week after Thanksgiving in Disney as a family. That is our Christmas. This year we couldn't do that because of finances but we sure will try to do it next year. It just wasn't the same. We build a gift of memories each year.

I'd much rather enjoy a vacation than give something that is forgotten.