Do you like buying gifts? Or do you dread it? Or does it depend upon the situation?
Giving is supposed to be a rewarding and positive activity. Voluntary. An act of love and generosity. Why are some people good at it while others are not?
Good gift givers have two characteristics:
(1) They are generous
(2) They are open-hearted
Generosity doesn’t have to do with how much money you have or what you can afford. It is about the giving spirit. We give because it feels good.
The best gift I ever received hardly cost a thing but was very generous. One Mother’s Day, my husband made a music video with my two daughters called, “All You Need Is Mom.” It was so personal and heartfelt that I will cherish forever.
We remember both the really great gifts AND the really bad ones.
Some people don’t like giving gifts because they are miserly or cheap. Buying gifts makes them uncomfortable because their focus isn’t on the recipient but on buying something for the least expense.
There is an important difference between being cheap and frugal. Both like to save money, but the main difference is that cheap people do things at the expense of others. They’re the ones who may treat themselves to a good meal in a restaurant, and leave the waiter a 10% tip. They may even treat themselves well, but be miserly when it comes to spending money on gifts for others. Cheap people are lousy gift givers.
The frugal but generous person will set a spending limit on a gift, but they will take the time to find the perfect gift within their budget. That is the spirit of giving.
Being a good gift giver also means having an open heart. When your heart is open, you know the friends and relatives in your life well enough so that you have a sense for who they are and what they like. You pay attention to these things, and the more you care about a person, the more you pay attention. You actually want your gift to give the recipient pleasure.
Consequently, buying for your spouse or partner should be relatively easy. Keep your ears open for clues about things they want, and make a note of it. If you have trouble buying for your partner, consider whether you need to work on developing either of the two attributes of good givers.
Good gift givers understand enough about the receiver so they don’t buy an artist something that requires little creativity like a coloring book or a craft kit. They wouldn’t buy a philodendron for someone who collects orchids.
It can be challenging if the recipient of the gift is hard to get to know or has completely different taste than we do. A good giver will still aim to find an appropriate gift based upon what he does know. Maybe it won’t be perfect, but it still will be obvious that his heart is in the right place.
My mother loved buying gifts for people. She was an odd combination of generous and selfish at the same time. What I mean is that she bought gifts of things that she wanted people to have, even when she knew the recipient might not want it. I hated wearing suits but she would buy me them because she thought lawyers should “look professional,” and my style was too bohemian.
As you’ve probably already concluded, the worst category of gift giver is one who doesn’t have an open heart and is cheap. This person just wants to get the gift giving over with, no matter whom it is for. They don’t understand where love fits into the process.
What happens when good giver has to buy a gift for someone she hardly knows? When possible, ask someone closer to this individual for suggestions. If you don’t have the knowledge to choose the perfect gift, there are always gift certificates!
So if you want to be someone who gives good or even great gifts, give from your generous heart. Here are a few other tips that will make the gift giving process special.
1. Plan ahead. On shopping errands or on vacation, be on the lookout for gifts for close friends and relatives. This is an especially good practice for people who don’t enjoy shopping. Museum shops are great for unique and interesting items. Planning ahead will make it easier to find a great gift and avoid the situation in which you haven’t left enough time to do so.
2. Make it personal. Give something that shows a connection between you and the recipient, or add a personal touch with a handmade card or a monogram.
3. Be creative and think outside the gift box!
Mother Teresa summed it up well when she said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” When you give with love, the recipient feels it.
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I work with smart women who want to lose weight and keep it off. I help them discover what is really causing their weight problem, fix it at the source, and teach them how to enjoy the foods they love while permanently losing their desire to overeat along with their excess weight. I'd love to teach my method to you! I’m also a gourmet cook and baker who struggled with my weight for 40 years before discovering the secret to not overeating.