Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Signed with Love

This morning I received indirect criticism about a gift I recently gave. I was taken aback. I felt irritated. And, then I realized it didn't matter. I gave from the heart. The recipient is grateful. What was said doesn't even matter. The criticism gave me cause to consider gift giving. Why do I give gifts? Does the item express my heart? With Christmas around the corner, I am shaken by the desire to change the gifts I give.

I give to others because I care about them.

I rarely know what to get people.

My gifts usually don't reflect my feelings. My gifts are tokens of affection, often bought in haste because I am under a deadline to meet a special occasion. I don't get something for everyone I wish I could. I am often too late for special events and I miss celebrating someone special all together. None of it -a bought gift or a forgotten gift- reflects the love I have for friends and family.

I want this year's Christmas to be different.

I don't know how I am going to change.

I spent the morning listening to Christmas music, thinking about gift giving and the reason that I want to give to others during the holidays.

I want to show my kids how to give.
They need to give this year. They need to see me giving from my heart.

I don't know what to do differently. My heart aches for change. I want to show more love to those I know. It's plain and simple but exceedingly difficult during the busy holiday season.

I wonder, how can I celebrate giving with my kids?

I wonder, can my Christmas shopping be more than a checklist?

I'm praying over this and looking for ideas. Let me know what you do- big or small- to keep gift giving centered on the meaning behind it.

I want my gifts to be signatures of my love.


Mimi said...

Oh my gosh, I was just thinking of this yesterday! Do I give my teens something that means something from me instead of the electronics they want? Then am I being selfish...

I'll be praying right along with you!

Hugs & love,

Honey said...

my favortie thing to do is make a gift....however, the recipient is sometimes not aware of the love and time that it took and would much rather have a gift card...Buying gifts is such a stress...I'm like you...hurry, hurry, don't spend too much...wonder if they will like it...they don't really need anything...just grab something....sort of turns a good thing into a dreaded thing! if you figure something out, please let us know!!!! pb

sarah said...

I have been thinking a lot about this too. Last year we went to the three gifts (after the wisemen) we do something you want, something you need and something to do. Joey gets it and it is fun to see him make his list and really think it through. It has helped with just getting for getting sake. This year we are reading the Kings Christmas list http://www.amazon.com/Kings-Christmas-List-Eldon-Johnson/dp/1400316456 -someone gave it to me after Christmas last year and I am hoping it will help too. I also take the boys shopping to buy a gift for each other-I can remember my mom doing this with me and I loved shopping with her, but I think it helped me love gift giving-I can still remember the feeling of excitement when they were going to open my gift. I think too I am also learning that it is so dependent on my reaction to the little things they give me-I need to be gracious, happy, excited and thankful. Joey loves to "play" birthday and wrap up random things to give me. It has helped me to practice this.
It is such a hard thing to teach and to practice-but thanks for the reminder to be reevaluating what and why we are doing what we do! You have such a gift of words!

RLR said...

Struggling with the same thing here. My mom's side of the family (she has 5 siblings, so there are lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins' kids) exchanges gifts but is opposed to drawing names - which means small-ish token gifts from us.
And when I look at my own family of four, there's nothing that we truly *need* - so even exchanging gifts within our family of four is a struggle. Sure, there are some things that I want (I've actually started a list on my blog), but I'd really just love more time with my family. Unplugged, un-rushed - can you tell I've been reading "Not So Fast"?
And now, off to Lowe's to get one more brackets for my new curtain rod before I pick the kiddos up from school (yep, I'm sort of in a hurry). Thankful that tomorrow is a school holiday.

Beth E. said...

When my boys were little, they always made gifts for our family. I would buy simple craft kits for things. It helped them to see how much it means for someone to receive a gift from the heart.

I try to take notes during the year. When a family member mentions something they like...a particular band, author, music, etc. I jot it down. Then, when Christmas time rolls around, I try to buy them a gift based upon their interests. It takes more time, but everyone seems to appreciate the effort!

samantha said...

We adopt 1-2 families through a program at church. The families are all here in town and we are given list of things the kids would like or need and their ages. We then take the kids to the armory to pick out items to give to those families. We also try to make or get something for each child from the store. Our kids look forward to this every year and it helps them understand that there are many other people who are in need. Good luck this year =)

Missy said...

When I first had children, I was not a believer so Christmas was an all out, give the biggest, materialistic experience.
Now....it is different. Each year, we have scaled down our gift giving more and more. We are trying to give more meaningful and thoughtful gifts and not focusing on the amount of gifts or how much we spend on them.

It is so hard during this time of our society where everyone keeps shouting MORE, MORE, and BIGGER and BETTER.

But, with that, I also have to remember to be a gracious gift accepter. I have to keep in mind that I too am being given gifts from the heart and to keep my thoughts to myself and bite my tongue.

Ann Kroeker said...

I hope you get a clear vision for what Christmas can be!