Tag Archives: holiday gift giving

‘Tis the Season for 3 Types of Gift-Giving

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 6.38.17 AMGift-giving is a complex human story which can either be inspired by the expectation of reciprocity or pure unselfishness.  Various religions deem giving as holy, a liberating act taking you out of the self and into the larger context of humanity.  And if you feel lonely and stressed, counselors and therapists will advise you to volunteer in order to meet people and get involved.

Basically, there are three styles of gift-giving.


  • Someone you know
  • Someone you don’t know
  • Someone you don’t like

Giving to someone you know sets the stage to reinforce a happy relationship. You think about the gift from the recipient’s point of view, and place a value on the relationship. This type of present involves planning, imagination and effort.  You are rewarding another person. Consequently, you are enhancing your own reputation, romancing someone, banking a favor or attracting an ally. Often there are invisible strings attached.

Giving to someone or a group you don’t know makes you an anonymous giver. The act is not about receiving acknowledgement for the thoughtfulness of your gift. The gift is an act of compassion, a spark of genuine concern to help others and put back some goodness in the world. This is the social glue which brings people together for common values.

Giving to someone you don’t like involves loving your enemy – an enormous potential for spiritual expansion. Of course, you could take the low road and make a metaphorical statement about your relationship like giving a set of knives to suggest that you have been stabbed in the back. Another option is to give a gift which highlights a salient weakness like giving a diet book to an overweight person. However, to create harmony out of discord by forgiving this person you don’t like can help you shore up your own weakness. Does the object of your anger/jealousy mirror something about yourself that you don’t like? Do you have a fear or insecurity which you are projecting? Have you honestly assessed your own shortcomings?  When you forgive, you achieve equanimity – you get even.

Aim to accomplish all three diverse styles to satisfy the different parts of your personality. Take an inventory of which personality trait dominates. Don’t forget to give yourself a gift.

What type of gift giving will you be doing this year? Share your tips in the comments below! 

Don’t Stress About a Small Holiday Budget

Since the economy has changed, getting back to basics is the theme for this holiday season, a relief for those on tight budgets. Even if you have the funds, but are tired of the materialism, long lines, spoiled children and commercials telling you what to buy and where, this is a great time period to create new meaningful holiday rituals of giving. Don’t miss this golden opportunity for setting new holiday precedents. I dare you to be yourself this year and give a gift from your heart, your hands and your personal treasures.

Here are 4 gift-giving categories to minimize holiday spending, yet maximize loving appreciation:

* Include a redeemable coupon (s) in your holiday card for an experiential gift based on your skill-set and the recipient’s need like:  dinner in your place, a massage, babysitting, de-cluttering and cleanup , help with writing a term paper, walking the dog,  an hour of venting,  grocery shopping, etc.

* Give a “pre-owned” gift. If you have some special treasures at home like memorabilia from trips, collectibles from your grandparents, or art. Whatever you feel comfortable parting with and make sure it correlates highly with the recipient’s personality. Let the person know the history of the gift and why you want him or her to have it. For example, your friend is unable to travel, but you have taken many exotic trips in the past; consequently, a souvenir along with a description of what it symbolizes could be inspiring and expansive for his imagination.

* Re-gift what is not a good match for you, but would be a better match for a friend. For example, you received a makeup case with 25 different quality eye shadows which you will never use because you like wearing a soft brown shadow for your green eyes. However, your good friend loves to change her look and would enjoy playing with the shimmering shades.

* If you have creative abilities, give the fruits of your labor like: a painting, poem, song, painted tee shirt, baked goods, photograph, or a rooted cutting, bulbs or seeds you have planted in a flower pot. You get to strut your stuff and the other person feels special because you created this gift, designed just for him or her, using your time, space and imagination.

When the economy improves, you will probably keep this new tradition!

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / creativeFlutter AKA MazerDesign

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