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A gift giving tradition

Updated on January 8, 2016
Snowman gift bag
Snowman gift bag | Source

Why do we give gifts?

Nothing says Christmas like a presents stacked under the tree and stockings brimming with tiny treasures. Well, maybe that is what the advertising companies would have us believe anyway. We all know that holidays and special occasions are not about gifts. If you are a Christian, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, for example. Another example is graduations are about celebrating the completion of something such as high school or college. Anniversaries are the celebration of something lasting for "X" amount of years, like a marriage or how long a business has been open.

So what is it about any of these things that necessitate gift giving? Some of us do it out of love, friendship or kindness. We give a little something special to help commemorate the occasion. It is a tradition in many countries all over the world. Others may give a token gift out of a sense of obligation. For example exchanging gifts at a holiday party given by an employer. Some of the employees might be friends, yet others almost complete strangers.

Then there are those odd few, who for some crazy reason, seem to just enjoy surprising people with gifts. I am one of those odd folks. I really like giving people gifts for special occasions and just randomly, for the sake of it. I don't care how cliche it sounds. It warms my heart to see the spark of happiness my little gifts seem to bring people.

Anniversary getaway surprise
Anniversary getaway surprise | Source

The element of surprise

The whole idea of a gift is that it should be unexpected. Maybe the person knows that he/she is getting something but not what it is until it is given. It's not much fun to receive something, as a gift, that you are already expecting. In that case, you aren't really getting a gift, just something that someone gave you. That in itself is nice, but not really a gift.

One of the best parts about giving a gift is seeing the look of surprise on the recipient's face. The twinkle in their eye as they open it and then the happiness of getting something they like. I enjoy making people happy. I like planning little surprises for people I care about or are deserving of something special. Everyone deserves a surprise gift every now and then.

I like to take the gift and place it somewhere that the recipient will find it such as on the kitchen table, in the seat of their car or on their desk. If you "hide" the gift, be sure it is someplace that they will find it rather quickly. A surprise is one thing, but hiding it too well can take the fun out of it.

I painted this as a gift for a dear friend.
I painted this as a gift for a dear friend. | Source

It's the thought that counts

It is easy to decide you want to give someone a gift. It is not always so easy to figure out what the gift should be. If you are going shopping, then try to keep in mind things that the recipient likes. For example coffee. A new coffee mug with a humorous graphic on it might be perfect for your coffee drinker. If they love to read, then consider a beautiful bookmark or a novel by their favorite author.

The point is to put some serious thought into whatever gift you decide to give someone. Thoughtful gifts show them you cared enough to pay attention to them. It would be rather offensive to give someone a football jersey when they can't stand football, right? Along the same lines, you wouldn't give someone who quit smoking a carton of cigarettes, right? Of course not! Consider what you know about the person and choose a gift appropriate for that person.

You may opt for making a gift like cookies, candies or even painting a picture. Homemade gifts are often unique and personal. You put a bit of yourself into a homemade gift. To family and friends, that can be very special.

I colored this bookmark for my friend. The drawing is original work by Dan Thompson.
I colored this bookmark for my friend. The drawing is original work by Dan Thompson. | Source

Speaking of tradition

I have known my best friend for over twenty years. She and I have been through a lot together. She is an extended part of my family. She was there for me when no one else could be. I know from experience that she says the same for me. We have lived in different states for over ten years now. We still talk just about everyday and make the long distance trip to visit each other whenever possible.

It is because of this distance that we began a little gift giving tradition. About five years ago, she started it by sending me a package pretty close to Christmas time. The package contained several items she knew I would enjoy: various art supplies and an easel. I cried when I was pulling the items from the box. I called her up and we cried together. I had already purchased her Christmas gift and sent it.

From that Christmas on we agreed to buy and make little things for each other throughout the year and save them in a box. Once a year when we see each other we exchange boxes. This not only saves on shipping costs, we get to enjoy the element of surprise when we pull the items out. If we cannot manage to see each other, then we agree to send the boxes for Christmas.

It's not the gifts inside the boxes that count, it's the fact that we think of each other often and know each other so well. The gifts don't cost very much and some of them are handmade. I am so glad we have this little tradition.

I drew this for my nephew who loves trucks.
I drew this for my nephew who loves trucks. | Source

A gift is a gift

In the end it doesn't matter why we give a gift as long as it is from our hearts. Whether you draw a truck (even though you have no clue how) for your nephew like I did, or buy something from a store, be sure the gift suits the recipient. There is only one more thing I want to discuss here.

Please gift selflessly. Don't expect anything in return. Some people may not be able to give a gift back or may not feel they should have to. Gift with only the intention of making someone happy and let that be your reward.

© 2014 Tammy Cramblett

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