A Word about Gift Giving
Do you love gift giving? Or does shopping for others create a sense of dread?
Do you enjoy gift giving only when you’re certain you’ve found the most perfect gift the receiver will love?
The holiday season can be stressful, and especially so if you have some rigid beliefs about what gift giving entails.
Think about the messages you tell yourself around picking out gifts for others. What thoughts pop up? For example, many people find themselves trapped in belief-systems that say things like:
- “I have to find the perfect gift.”
- “If it’s not expensive, it doesn’t seem worth giving.”
- “A gift for so-and-so needs to be meaningful.”
- “I must put a lot of thought into a gift for x and make it personalized.”
Do you relate to any of the above?
If so, you may be adding extra pressure by thinking in ways that ultimately create more unnecessary stress for you.
Coping with Gift-Giving Perfectionism
Spend some time exploring where these belief systems come from. What did you learn growing up around gifts? What was modeled to you? What did you experience when you received a gift or witnessed others giving them?
Do you notice any rigid belief systems in your thinking? (Hint: Watch out for anything that includes words like should, have to, must, need to, etc. Watch out for perfectionist thinking.)
I’ve definitely found myself in this place, wondering, “Is it better to give something kinda lame or give nothing at all?” The answer may depend on who you’re shopping for. If your partner, friend, or loved one’s love language is gifts, then a little something may be the way to go but you don’t have to overthink it.
What if “it’s the thought that counts” really is true?
What if simply remembering someone was enough, and their reaction toward the actual gift (whether they love the gift or not) is on them and not something you need to stress over?
Gift giving doesn't have to be expensive, over the top, or all-consuming of our time and energy.
Sure, it’s awesome if we come up with the perfect gift that has tons of meaning and will be something we know the receiver will love. But we simply can’t meet this mark every time.
Sometimes, simple and practical is good enough and really appreciated.
Nobody knows this lesson better than parents of toddlers:
You find the perfect toy. You don’t care about the cost because you are certain they will love it. It will keep them busy for hours, allowing you time to finally tackle the laundry or get some quiet time. But when you finally give the gift, they’re more enthralled with the opening process than with what’s actually inside. In fact, they have a meltdown when you try to throw away the wrapping paper. They play with the box for at least twenty minutes, ignoring the shiny new toy.
You’d have been better off wrapping a spatula, funnel, and some Tupperware.
Can you relate?
To save your sanity, think about practical over perfect & inclusive rather than individualized
I learned this lesson from my husband’s Aunt Patti during my first Christmas with the in-laws. Aunt Patti gave all the women in the family Christmas themed Pyrex baking dishes. She gave all the men jugs of windshield wiper fluid.
I was so excited to get that Pyrex dish – she barely knew me, but included me. And every year I’m grateful to have a festive serving dish around the holidays. It's a great reminder that it really is the thought that counts when it comes to giving gifts.