Has this ever happened to you? You have all your holiday shopping done. The packages are all wrapped. Your Christmas cards have all been sent. And, then, it happens.
In the mail you receive a Christmas card from someone who was not on your list of cards that you sent. Oh, no! Now what do you do? It’s too late. If you do send them a card they won’t get it in time. This is but a small part of what I call, “the stress of Christmas.”
What if you received a card from someone not on your list and with it they included a gift card? You have not even sent them a card, let alone a gift. More stress. And what about receiving a gift from someone that is much more expensive than the gift you gave them? More stress.
These and other similar holiday related events cause people a lot of unnecessary stress. Times may be a little tight for some families and they just cannot afford to buy the kind of gifts they would like to for their children. In years past, they may have given gifts to their nieces and nephews, but not this year. More stress.
Some people go through stress with company holiday parties. Should you go? If you don’t go, will it look bad? What about a gift for the boss?
A lot of unneeded pressure comes around every December. Perhaps the biggest reason could be attributed to what we think a gift is. Maybe we ought to take a step back and ask ourselves why we give gifts in the first place.
Of course we want someone to be happy with the gift that we give them; we want them to know that we love them. We want them to have something nice; after all it is a gift. And, many times, trying to figure out what kind of gift would meet that criteria can cause stress as well.
But why do we give a gift? Is it because we know that someone is going to give us a gift and we need to make sure that we reciprocate in kind? Is it because we feel that someone deserves a gift? Is it because we know that someone is expecting a gift from us? In other words, do we feel obligated for whatever reason?
I saw part of a movie recently where a single dad didn’t have any money to buy presents, so he simply put the pictures of the gifts he wanted to give in little boxes and wrapped them in pretty paper. The thinking was that this is what he would like to have given, but he didn’t have the money to do so.
I am all in favor of giving gifts, but I always try to remember what a gift really is. I don’t believe that a gift is something that is earned or deserved. Sorry, Santa. I don’t believe that a gift is given in response to a gift that is given to you. That eliminates the old “gift exchange” program.
Biblically, a gift is something that is freely given out of love without expecting anything back in return. A gift is something given with no strings attached. The Bible says that God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son!
God took a big chance on doing that because what if no one accepted His gift? He was willing to take that chance because His motive was love. No one forced Him or made Him to feel obligated to do something. He simply decided that was what He was going to do.
I believe that most people would probably give more if they had more. But, you only have what you have and can only give what you can give. The only other alternative is to go into debt so that you can give certain things. Doing that is not a financially sound decision.
And there is one other thing to consider. Many times, a very inexpensive gift that has a lot of love and heart is much more appreciated. So many times in my life I have received gifts that monetarily were very inexpensive. But the love and heart behind them was something that deeply touched my heart.
So when it comes to gift giving, it will help eliminate a lot of stress if you remember that a gift is simply something that is freely given out of love, expecting nothing in return. If others have a different idea about gifts, well then that’s their privilege to have a different point of view. But you should never base your actions on what other people are going to think about you. Base your actions on love and you will eliminate the “stress” of the holidays.