In a family of twelve children it can be rather costly to give a Christmas gift to every family member. As we siblings started having children, the cost increased to include all the nieces and nephews. I was quite happy, therefore, when someone proposed that we do a gift exchange by drawing names; we would then have to give a gift only to the person whose name was drawn. The difficulty of deciding what to give was eased by requiring that everyone participating develop a wish list.
One year I drew the name of a family member whose wish list included items that were quite expensive. The lowest-cost expensive item was $200. I could not afford that amount, so I gave an item not on the list that cost around $50. The recipient's disappointment was evident even to a blind man. The recipient let out a disappointed sigh and announced that anyone else who wanted the gift could have it. That was my last year of participating in the family's gift exchange.
This year I am participating in a gift exchange with a local group in which I am involved. The questioned was raised as to a limit on the cost of the gift. It was decided that the gift should be from $5 to $20. I asked if the limit would preclude someone from making a gift. It is possible to take $10-worth of material and make a item whose value is greater than $20. The group could not resolve the matter.
What is the value of the gifts you offer?
Giving and sharing are actions that satisfy the yearning for significance. You were born to provide a contribution to the people with whom you come in contact and to your environment. The depth of your significance is best measured by what flows from you rather than what comes to you. The value of your contribution cannot be measured in monetary units.
The Christmas season is a well-known time for giving, but even those who do not follow the teachings of Christ have in their culture a celebrated time for gift exchange. One's generosity may be demonstrated several times during the year. Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are special days for giving in the U.S. You honor a friend or relative by giving gifts on the anniversary of his birth or her marriage. you need no special occasion to donate money, clothes, blood, or time to a nonprofit or charitable organization.
Your giving should not end with the giving of tangible gifts. To show your appreciation you can give thanks, and to encourage another you can give compliments. you may give advice or criticism to edify a friend. Values such as commitment, honesty, and respect have as their core the act of giving.
The act of giving is a universal law, both physically and spiritually. It is as vital to the life of your relationships with other people as oxygen is to the life of your body. If you end all your giving, sit around and wait to receive, or take without returning, you would see the significance of giving in your dealings with people. you would witness the decline of your friendships, the ineffectiveness of your networks, and the loss of the support you get from others. In other words, if you stop giving, others will stop giving to you.
This may be the ideal holiday season for you to move beyond the exchange of monetary gifts. Save your money; put away the credit cards. Take this opportunity to give the gift that cannot be bought--love.