Around this time of year, the choruses of “I don’t need anything” start to ring out across the nation. Gift-giving becomes a burden. Gift cards sell like hotcakes because we just don’t know what else to get that person who has everything. When so many people are in need across the world, why do we buy anything for each other, anyway? And, in a lot of ways, I agree with that statement. But I think we need to take a brief look at a different point of view.
For several years in a row, someone at church gave us a hand-crocheted heart with a card thanking us for our service in the church. I want to tell you about what that gift meant. You see, serving in any capacity, whether as a parent, a teacher, a church worker, or an employer is a pretty thankless job. The fact that someone took the time to write a note and crochet a heart meant a lot. It meant that what we did mattered.
And what about gift-giving as a way to express our appreciation and love for someone? We seem to have lost sight of that, as well. Some of us have stopped giving gifts, period. And some of us become so overwhelmed with our Christmas to-do list that we just start buying whatever is convenient or perhaps we just end up stuffing some money or a gift card inside an envelope. We do this instead of really thinking about the person and what kind of gift they would enjoy most.
I know a couple of people who literally suck all of the joy out of gift-giving. Do you know anyone like that? If they are around, they take all of the joy out of giving. They tend to make you feel guilty for buying gifts, for giving gifts, for receiving gifts.
But they are missing the point. Gifts aren’t necessarily about what we need. Gifts are to show love, appreciation, and care. I think we have this gift-giving thing all mixed up. We rush around and feel burdened to “buy” a gift, instead of enjoying it. Gift giving should be a blessing.
Think with me for a moment about your closest family and friends. Have you expressed your love for them recently? Think about those who serve you in some capacity…perhaps it is a mailman or a babysitter…a teacher or a crossing guard. Do they know you appreciate them and what they do for you? Think with me about your neighbors. Do these people know you care? (Do you care??) Gifts do not have to be elaborate or expensive to make a statement. They just need to be heartfelt and sincere.
And so it would be correct to say that many of us do not need anything. But is that really the only thing that matters when it comes to giving gifts? Perhaps it is time to start putting our hearts and some of our time into thoughtful gift-giving. Let’s choose to bless someone this holiday season!