I often feel misunderstood when it comes to gift giving, especially around the holidays. I know that I bring this upon myself and that it isn’t possible for everyone to see my point of view…but have a new way of explaining it that may be helpful!
Here are the questions that often come up this time of year:
- “So, you don’t buy gifts for your kids, but make friends & family buy gifts for them?”
- “It’s Christmas! Kids are supposed to get a bunch of gifts, let them enjoy it!”
- And on the other side: “How do I get my family to give our kids less this year???”
A different way to look at gift giving this year (that supports both sides!)
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Another way to look at gifts…
A question I’ve been thinking about lately is: Do gifts add to our happiness?
And I think the answer is yes and no. If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we don’t see gifts on it but we do see love:
When do gifts add to our feelings of happiness, joy & experiencing love? I would propose that there are a few criteria that need to be met:
- The person receiving the gift has a first or second “love language” of gifts
- The gift is thoughtful
- The sentiment behind the gift is for the recipient to feel noticed, acknowledged or loved
Do all gifts create happy or loving feelings? I don’t think so. For some of us, we often feel:
- Like we’re not fully understood
- A sense of let down or like something is missing
For me, I look forward to holidays like Thanksgiving where there are not gifts exchanged, but still plenty of good food and quality time together.
So ultimately, what do we do about gifts this Christmas?
I think it’s important to remember that to some, gifts are VERY important. So canceling all gift exchanges is not sensitive to their feelings of being appreciated and loved.
And on the other hand, to acknowledge that excessive, thoughtless gift giving rarely benefits anyone or causes them to feel loved.
So for us, we’re participating in a few thoughtful and limited gift exchanges and forgoing any that don’t have meaning to us.
Is that right or wrong? We each have to decide for our own family!