“For it is in giving that we receive.”
Francis of Assisi
Are you a giver of gifts? I have a cousin who shops all year for Christmas and birthday gifts for the people she loves—friends, family, sometimes folks she barely knows. She'll see something, and say, “Oh, that looks like so-and-so. I'm going to get that for him.” She has a designated “gift closet!” I have a friend who gives other people gifts of things that he likes, whether the receiver does or not. “Oh, you need this!” For some people, giving material gifts is equal to expressing devotion. Their gifts are intended almost as “love offerings,” like those left at sacred sites.
In my family of origin, material gifts were given only when something was needed. They tended toward the practical, like clothes, shoes, food. When my mother died, all her jewelry fit into one small box. She had a few earrings, and a necklace my father had given her for their 50th anniversary; no bracelets, no rings other than her engagement and wedding rings. In no way was she a frivolous woman.
I, myself, have a strange relationship toward gift giving. I like to give when I am moved to give, and not when something is expected. I, like my mother, prefer to give gifts that are useful, as opposed to impractical, or purely “kitsch.” Unless it fills up my heart to give something, I prefer not to give at all. And, when it does fill up my heart, that full heart IS the gift. When we give from a open heart, we share equally in the gift of joy. When we receive a gift that has been thoughtfully chosen, and lovingly given, we are doubly blessed. We receive both the gift, and the love that goes with it. You can't beat that!
In the Spirit,