The Art of Gift Giving-A A +A
Friday, June 13, 2014
IN THIS age of commercialism, where almost every material thing that man needs, man can buy, the art of giving gifts has somehow lost its charm.
Have you experienced having exchange gifts for Christmas where the participants decide to just give each other cash or gift certificates so they can buy whatever they want? Seems practical, isn’t it? Less trouble. Less hassle. I am guilty of having done the same a number of times. My own kids have done something similar among themselves.
It may have skipped our minds that sometimes when we resort to this “practical” approach to giving, we are robbed of the opportunity to give something more than just the actual gift. That something more is our time and effort to choose thoughtfully. That something more is the sacrifice involved, the difficulty, the effort in choosing. These are the invisible components of our gift, which make the gift more precious than its monetary value. Thus, we deprive the recipient of our gift, the joy of receiving something more valuable.
With so many things to choose from in the department stores, isn’t it harder to think and choose and shop wisely? Isn’t it just wiser to give cash or gift certificates? At least, we are sure the recipient will like what he/she personally buys or chooses with our cash gift. This has actually been my own “excuse”.
After reflecting on it, the reality is, we cheapen our gift with the excuse of practicality and sensibility. Could it be that the truth is, we have simply become lazier? Harsh? But maybe true.
At the back of my mind, I am reminded of the kinds of gifts I have truly valued and appreciated in the past. I can still remember the many handmade birthday cards, which my children lovingly wrote and drew on.
In my small treasure box (which got converted into a big bag) are small tokens of personal notes and poems, letters and school projects. They are nothing at all of great monetary value, yet, most appreciated and treasured.
Lest I am misunderstood and taken in for being impractical or worse, ungrateful, allow me to clarify. I am not promoting the non-giving of cash or gift certificates, on any occasion, especially at weddings.
This is one instance where I do believe it is very practical and sensible to give. But, there is more to giving than just giving or handing out a gift.
I believe what Amy Carmichael said, “You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.” Let us put more love into our giving.
True love entails sacrifice. It doesn't have to be a big sacrifice. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift. Let us simply put more “meaning” into our giving.
There are many aspects to giving. The emphasis on my article above is only on the giving of material things.
The truth is, whatever it is that we give, whether material or otherwise, like time, attention, encouragement, talent or service, the one essential ingredient that puts more meaning into our giving is LOVE.
I know that if I were to receive a gift, I would be most happy with anything, as long as I know that the one who gave it “sprinkled” the gift with his/her love.
So, let us make love more visible in our gifts. Spend a little more time thinking thoughtfully what the recipient of our gift will really like. And while at it, why not wrap it beautifully? Try a little art work. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Reuse and recycle! Use your imagination! If not artistic enough, any personal touch will do. How about adding a very special appreciation note, personalizing the gift with your written words? A poem will be lovely. A bible verse carefully chosen will be touching. Allow the recipient of your gift see “you” in your gift.
Whenever we give of ourselves, naturally, we lose a part of ourselves. Yet, the paradox of life is such that, the more we give of ourselves, the more we have of ourselves to give. Love is a bottomless pit. Let us give more love, not only through our material gifts, but, more importantly, through our everyday words and deeds.
“For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 14, 2014.