I’m just home from our family Thanksgiving celebration and I am stoked to be entering the holiday gift-giving season. Christmas held a special magic for me when I was growing up and something of that spark lingers most years.
But last year, I didn’t feel this way. Last year, I had no holiday spirit. No excitement, no energy to put towards gifting or decorating. Everything felt like a chore, especially holiday shopping!
Thinking about gifts felt overwhelming. Adding more junk, and stuff I don’t need to my own home felt disgusting, and I truly didn’t want much to do with any of it. I’m lucky my husband took on a lot of our holiday responsibilities while I hovered in deep resistance.
Because of last year, I am thinking carefully about gift-giving this year. I’m feeling holiday magic right now - but it could quickly disappear as soon as gifting becomes a chore. When something feels like a “have to do” rather than a “want to do” or a “get to do” I start to resist and resent it.
So I’m wondering how to make sure gifting isn’t just another thing on my to-do list. What I’ve come up with is this:
Instead of coming from obligation, gift giving can come from gratitude.
That means when I consider a person I am planning to offer a gift to, I’m considering what that person means to me. With gratitude in mind I can consider what that person has brought into my life in the last year. How has knowing that person made my life more full, more radiant? Or, if that person doesn’t have a huge day-to-day impact (like a far away cousin or something) I’ve been considering what does that person symbolize in my life? In the example of a long lost cousin I remember the importance of belonging and the love and support of my family.
Just considering people and my relationships with them brings on waves of appreciation and gratitude. Then when I take on the idea of finding a gift I am considering from my hearts desire to give back. I don't feel a sense of obligation, I feel a sense of delight, and joy. It feels like an opportunity to offer a nugget of joy in gratitude for the unwrappable gifts that person has given me through the years.
May we make offerings of joy and of gratitude this year.
And may our loves know how deeply they are loved by how warmly our gifts are given.
Contemplation: Gifting in Gratitude
Think of someone you feel obligated to offer a gift
What has this person offered me this year?
How has my life been enriched by knowing this person?
Even if our relationship is not very close or is strained, what does this person represent in my life?
What is my great wish for my relationship with this person?
By now you may be starting to recognize feelings of love, openness, or connection growing towards your person. I hope so. Let those feelings flow as you consider what gift you could offer in gratitude for what you have receive.
In contrast you may find that this person doesn’t inspire anything but heartache or animosity. Consider whether gifting to this person is really necessary this year… do you really have to keep that obligation? If you’re feeling stuck, now could be a great time for a coaching call to help you remember what feels best to your own heart this holiday season.