As we head into the gifting season I often ask myself, “Why do we gift?” Are we excited to wrap the presents and cheer someone up? Is gifting an expectation of the season? Is it an obligation because we know others will gift to us so we must gift to them? Is it a way to show love? A way to buy love?
I’ve always tried to view gifting as an expression of mindfulness and love. I see you. I remembered your birthday. You landed that big job. It’s been a rough week. Let’s celebrate this holiday. There are countless reasons to gift. Gifting has always been a happy space for me, with the exception of a certain time in my life I call “The Experiment.”
As an adult I’ve rarely stayed in one place for more than five years. First it was Seattle, then Utah and onto Portland. From there I went to Los Angeles, then Orange County, and now I’m back in Utah. With all this moving came the opportunity to create new friends in each location. In one such situation, I found myself surrounded by all new people and I did what I naturally do – I gifted during important life moments. However, time and time again my gifts fell flat. After numerous flops I stopped gifting. It was obvious no one wanted my gifts, what’s a girl to do? My no-gifting experiment had begun. I still celebrated these friends with time and energy but I gave up gifting. Life went on and not much changed. Fast forward a few years and I strangely felt like I didn’t know these friends very well, at least not like others I’d spent numerous years around. What was different? I tried proving these underdeveloped relationships were the result of differing personalities, time of life, etc. But I knew! I knew deep down it was because I had deleted an important practice in my life – a practice of thoughtfulness: gifting. It was never just about the gift – it was the entire gifting process. This experiment proved that whether it was a handwritten note or something I could wrap and tie a ribbon around, the process of gifting increases my love for the person on the receiving end.
***My Gifting Process***
My process looks a little bit like this:
- My friend is having a birthday. Hooray!
- Start thinking about something I can give them that they might enjoy, perhaps something they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
- Take time to go to the store and grab a gift or jump online if my friend lives far away.
- Wrap the gift.
- Write a thoughtful note and think about why this friend is so incredible (this is my favorite part).
- Ship or hand deliver the gift to my friend.
I’m sure you can see why I would feel closer to someone. I have felt a stronger bond created when I go through the gifting process - taking time to think of my friends, recognizing why they are who they are, and sacrificing a bit of my own time to share my love for them. I just wish I had swallowed my pride and shrugged off the dissonance I felt for those few years during my no-gifting experiment. How much closer could I have felt to those friends?
For the record, I sometimes miss birthdays or special occasions and only have time for a text or call. Those actions are very meaningful as well. I created The Rosy Nook because gifting can feel stressful and chaotic a lot of the time and I wanted an easy and affordable way to gift to my friends and family.
If your gift falls flat, if you feel like you’re just buying a thing at a store to give to a person or if you feel overwhelmed by the entire gifting process, I say to you, I get it and please don’t give up this beautiful practice. The gift doesn’t have to be big or even stretch your wallet. I promise you will feel an increased love for your friend/family member/co-worker as you spend time gifting. At the end of the day if we are a bit more kind, more loving, and more generous with our time, means, and thoughts, then we’ll have succeeded in becoming better human beings. Isn’t that a gift worth giving? I believe it is.