December is undeniably the season of gift giving. The feeling of finding a great present and watching a friend or loved one open it is one of the most satisfying. But for many people, picking an appropriately thoughtful or fun gift can be stressful at best. Gift giving does come with a certain amount of risk. There are many questions that often persist in even the most innocent search for presents. How much is too much (or too little) to spend? Is this gift too casual or too formal? Will they even like it?
Gift giving can be rewarding for a variety of reasons, and it is important not to let anxious questions spoil your holiday season. After all, the reason we buy gifts in the first place is to show our thanks to those around us. It is easy to forget the benefits of altruistic giving and lose ourselves in the procedure. Because it is so commonplace now, gift giving can feel a little thoughtless or arbitrary; and that feeling may stem from those worrisome questions and fears. But giving gifts can (and should) be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved.
Being mindful of how and why the people in your life affect you is not always easy. Giving gifts is an excuse to explore your personal relationships and think upon what benefit they add to your time on earth. It is not selfish to enjoy the personal fulfillment generosity brings, and doing so can build a constructive experience your brain will reward you long into the future.
Below are some of the many ways you can refocus your perspective on gift giving to make the most of the holiday season!
Reflecting on your connections to the people around you is always worthwhile. Doing so with gift giving in mind can bring to light many things that you may not think about on a daily basis. Experiences shared, hardships weathered, and milestones reached are great starting points for thoughtful gifts. What fun things have you done in the past year with this person? What things has this person been through that you can pay homage to in a thoughtful and appropriate way?
They key here is listening. Remembering even a small joke between friends or loved ones can be a signal that you are not only present in the relationship, but that you look back on those moments fondly and wish to express your thankfulness. Gifts that surprise and remind of the good times are worth it in the moment of their opening!
Somewhere along the way, making little gifts falls by the wayside to things we purchase in a store. It is certainly easier, and can produce presents that we could never make with our resources.
But, without question, making a gift is almost always a great way to show gratitude. A handmade present can be silly or serious, cute or cool. For family members, (especially parents) spending your time on something for them is probably just as appreciated now as it was when you were in grade school.
Remember that sometimes the point of giving presents is simply to show gratitude. Your gift does not have to be amazingly finished or perfectly created. Although it is a cliche, it really is the thought that counts. Plus, learning how to make something new can be a fun and worthwhile activity all on its own.
Here is a list of ideas to get you started:
The best gifts don’t necessarily come in the most expensive packages. Any holiday movie will tell you that it is the people that you love that make the season bright. It is easy to forget or simply miss those we are closest to. Spending some time to consider your connection to the people you get presents for can reveal more than just the perfect physical gifts.
Sometimes the best gift is a phone call, a hug, or an apology. A candy bar from the gas station could be the most significant gift a person receives in their entire life. You can’t control how people feel when they receive your gift this holiday season. But giving with honesty, good intention, and thoughtfulness is the best way to ensure they know you care. In the end, good memories are the gift that keeps on giving.
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