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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Gift of Giving

Once again, it is that time of the year when we have to honor the old tradition of gift giving.
I don’t know if you feel the same but for me this tradition has slowly turned from a joyous event into a stressful chore.
(Especially now when the propaganda machine is making me feel like the future of the whole economy depends on me spending the last dime on my name.)
So I decided to write this little post about the lost art of gift giving, hopping it will help you cope with the pressure and maybe even inspire you.

A few month ago, September 12 to be precise, I was celebrating my birthday.
On that day I received three presents:
My wife gave me a watch – I love my Swiss army watch and just it happened that I cracked the crystal on my old watch.
My older daughter gave me a bottle of eau de toilette – I am a sucker for French fragrances, you know :)

Then my little five years old handed me an envelope.
- I made it myself! – She announced and looked at me with wide expecting eyes.
I opened the envelope and pull out the card.
The paper was cut a little crooked and the fold was a little off center.
I could clearly see she wasn’t helped at all.

She decorated the card with drawings of flowers covered in colorful glitter and sparkles.
Inside written in big capital letters were her birthday wishes and a folded dollar bill.
- I did not know what to get you – she said to me – So I gave you a dollar so you can buy whatever you want.
I took her in my arms and I had to fight back the tears.
- This is the best gift ever! – I told her.
- Daaad! – I herd my older daughter whining – What about mine?
Oh, the joy of raising siblings!

This is what I learned from receiving the perfect gift that day.
The perfect gift has to be:
Personal
Creative
Original
Thoughtful
And last but not list: Loving

Now, I do not expect you to knit sweaters or mittens or to build the toys for your children, although believe it or not that is the way gifts were made when I grew up.
But putting that personal touch on the present you give is a must.
Even if the “personal” touch is only the wrapping on the present - do it yourself.
Nothing is duller than a factory or even a store wrapping.

Be creative – My older daughter gave my wife “coupons” for her birthday – back rubs, dish washing and such.
If you do not know what to give the man that has everything, boy do I have a list of coupons that will light up the house on fire ;)
If you are a man – no matter how gifted you think you are – limit yourself at non sexual favors – trust me on that!

Be original – Give the woman or the man you love something unusual like a day at a spa or the beauty salon.
Give yourself a mini vacation for two at a bread and breakfast house.
Buy concert or theatre tickets.
Do not limit yourself at the “old traditional” stuff. Think outside of the box

Be thoughtful. Buy the presents that she or he need, rather than frivolous stuff.
Well, if you love the one we are talking about you should have noticed by now their needs.
If you are a man you have probably not – so here what you do.
Look in the closet and see the most worn out pair of shoes.
Take a picture of them and go with the camera at a department store – do not forget to write down the shoe size.
Ask the clerk to give you a pair of shoes that best matches your photo – stick with the same color.
You can do that with everything else from cosmetic products to clothes.
Nothing shows how much you care as giving a gift that is needed.

And last but not least:
You have to realize that a “present” is not a “present” but just a wrapping.
The gift that you are giving it is - or it should be - LOVE
It is that love that can make a dollar bill the best present a father can get.
That is what I learned from my little girl about giving a gift.
And I hope you will find this post an inspiration as well.

6 comments:

Lydia said...

What a sweet post. Full of wisdom, as usual. I love the idea of taking a picture of a favorite old worn-out pair of shoes (or favorite worn-out anything), and closely approximating the item.
We have given charitable donations in the names of family members the last three years. It's a huge relief to be free from shopping and expectations. Our family members have begun to do the same foe our gifts and it's the best. Simple and meaningful.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

That actually brought me some tears. I totally agree. The best gifts are from the heart and original. I used to give dozens and dozens of gifts years ago. Now, I only give to those I truly care about and it's always something original. The key is to not just listen but hear your loved ones throughout the year and hearing them will give you hints as to what is close to their hearts. Fantastic post.

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Lydia - Giving charitable donation in the names of family members is the best idea I heard in a long time.
I wish more people would think and act that way.

@ Poetic - I know. I've been that path. The more gifts you give the more insignificant they become.
I have a room full of toys nobody plays with.
Actually Lydia inspired me - I will box some of them and send them to the old country for Christmas.

C. Om said...

Long time no speak! Good to see you as always. :-)

Practical wisdom such as this is easily applied. Thanks for sharing!

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ C.Om - Wisdom is like money; it has no value until you spend it.
Nice to have you back :)

Muhammad Atif said...

The more gifts you give the more insignificant they become.