To Give From The Heart
Recently I was asked to describe something that brings me joy. I didn’t have to give any thought to my answer: to give someone a gift.
Only on the rarest of occasions do I run out at the last minute to obtain a birthday, anniversary or other celebratory gift. And the gift is not always a package – to me, the right card can have as much meaning as a wrapped gift. Typically, I spend hours thinking about the person, and then proceed to shop for, or make, the item I have in mind. When choosing a gift, I try to take into at least one of the following:
· The relationship I have with the person
· How I can show honor to them for what they bring to my life
· Their unique personality characteristics, hobbies and interests
· A specific need they may have mentioned
Once I have the gift purchased or created, I also take pleasure in wrapping it – I LOVE wrapping paper, bags, bows etc. and get REALLY excited when I find products that match the gift in some way.
When possible, I try to give the gift to the person directly; when that can’t happen, my goal is to make sure the gift arrives in the person’s hands on the day of the celebration.
To accomplish this, I always have my family and friends on my mind whenever I am in a card or gift shop. I may find a card in February that I know is just perfect for someone who will celebrate in November. I may find a starter item, something small that I can build from to create a themed gift. I typically know when someone is about to celebrate a big milestone – a “40th, 60th, 80th birthday, a planned retirement etc. and will start planning well in advance of the event.
You may think I spend a lot of money on gifts, and sometimes I do. However, I have given gifts as simple as a photo from a special time in our lives to an item of clothing to a handmade quilt. And, of course, I have given many, many books as gifts (another type of store I can spend hours in). The point for me is to give a gift that comes from my heart.
Truthfully, I prefer to give an actual gift vs money, but I know that money is the best thing to give to some people. In that situation, the card becomes even more important to me – the card represents the time I spent thinking about the person and their special day.
And, sometimes, I give a gift “just because”; I find something that can only be given to a certain person, and I determine that they have to have it immediately. I cherish surprising someone with a “just because” card or gift.
And, tagging off that thought – the best part of the whole experience is to watch someone open their gift. When I see a smile spread across their face or hear things like “How did you know I wanted this?” or “I love it!” my heart truly sings with joy.
There is another type of gift that I treasure – one that establishes a certain memory or emotional connection. My mom died in September of 2012 from complications related to pancreatic cancer. Over the course of that summer she seemed to be declining. Her inability to eat anything substantial was causing a substantial weight loss and she was experiencing significant side effects from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Our sons, Greg and Tony, lived out of state and as I gave them weekly updates on their Grandma Lyla, they both decided they wanted to see her. My husband and I agreed and were able to arrange flights for each of them to come home and spend a weekend with their Grandma Lyla. Though none of us knew for certain that it would be the last time they saw each other, it turned out that it was – and my husband and I know that Grandma Lyla, Greg and Tony were so grateful to have that time together. Again, my heart sang, and still is, singing with joy.
According to an article in Psychology Today, there are five types of givers, and I guess I fall into the category of The Genuine Giver. And I’m okay with that.
I encourage you all to enjoy the gift of today – whatever it brings you!