Giving With Joy (Not Out of Duty)
I figured it out! I learned (via the hard, experiential way) how to give gifts from the heart and always feel good about it.
The key is to give when you feel like giving, and only within your means. Sounds pretty simple, but we typically don’t follow this at the holidays (or other gift-giving occasions).
Most folks either get really inspired and give more than they can afford to, only to regret it later when the credit card bills come due in the new year…. OR they give out of obligation, trying to find something inexpensive that will pass as acceptable (or something fitting for that uncle who is so difficult to buy for).
Neither method proves satisfactory to you, the gift-giver, and I would hazard a guess, to the gift recipient either. For if someone receives an over-the-top expensive gift from a giver whom they know can’t afford it, then the recipient feels badly. On the other hand, if the recipient opens a gift, only to see it is something that doesn’t really fit, or isn’t in line with their lifestyle or personality, then they don’t truly feel “gifted” afterall.
So the simple way to resolve this age-old dilemma is to create a gift-giving budget (a range that you feel comfortable spending within), and stick to it. Don’t let emotions take you beyond that price range. Be creative and discover what amazing gift you can find within your budgeted range. (Hint: it helps if you plan ahead and take some time to research options. Waiting till the last minute makes this step challenging.)
The second part of this method is to only give when your heart is truly “in it”. So if you aren’t in the mood, don’t go gift shopping. If you really don’t want to buy yet another soap-on-a-rope for Uncle Ted, then don’t. Either find something you’re inspired to give him, or make him a beautiful handmade card (and don’t spend money on a gift).
And finally, the third step is to let go of all expectations around the gift. In other words, don’t expect a thank you note, don’t expect them to “ooh” and “aah” when they open your gift, don’t expect it to be their favorite gift. Just give with an open heart, because you want to. And let go of any expectation about the outcome of the gift-giving….
These three steps might feel uncomfortable at first, but after a while, this will become second nature to you. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful you feel about gift-giving (before, during and after).
By following these principles, you will shift the entire gift-giving experience to one of joy and isn’t that what it’s all about?