Updated: Apr 20
April 17, 2023
(My young niece recently had a birthday party, and she seemed quite happy with this flower kit. I tried to give her something that she could do and learn from instead of just another toy.)
Do you like to give gifts? Do you like to receive gifts? Some people have a special “gift” (pun intended) for gift giving and know just what to get for each person. These special givers hit the target every time and delight the recipients.
Let me say before I share any thoughts about gift giving that I am not the greatest gift giver and really struggle because I overthink things. My simple approach to life and literal things has caused me to second guess myself many times when I give a gift. I often think, “I don’t know the perfect gift to give this person. What if she doesn’t like it? What if it’s just clutter to her?”
I do not know the perfect balance, but going to the extreme of never giving any gifts seems a bit harsh and unlike our loving Heavenly Father who loves to give good things. Giving thoughtful gifts to people is a way that we can show love and appreciation to those near us.
Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
If God loves to bless our lives with good things, we should seek (as we are able) to bless other’s lives with thoughtful gifts. By giving thoughtfully to others, we are demonstrating the lovingkindness that God shows towards us every single day.
A gift always says something about the giver, and our Heavenly Father always gives good gifts, gifts that are appropriate and helpful to us. God knows how to give good gifts, and something that is good is useful or beneficial. God is not going to give us something just to trouble or frighten us, but rather He gives out of a loving heart. And sometimes He even withholds things from us for our ultimate good, but that’s another post for another day…
So how does a person become a thoughtful gift giver?
Start by getting to know the person you are giving a gift to.
Be a good listener and listen to what the person talks about. What are his/her interests? What does your recipient like to do in free time? Would he/she prefer a tangible gift or an intangible one? Some people love to hold a literal, tangible gift while others value gifts of time, fellowship, or a fun adventure together.
I have reached a point in my life where intangible gifts of time and friendship are very valuable to me. For example our kind neighbor has given my husband and me an open invitation to watch our kids for us so we can go out, and she teases us about not taking her up on her offer more often! Hmmm…this reminds me I need to ask her to watch the kids.
My neighbor’s act of kindness means more to me than some object that I really didn’t want and now have to struggle finding a place for it or dealing with a little guilt about putting it in the deep, dark Goodwill bag that we don’t talk about (I literally always keep a black bag in my closet. Once something is in there, it does not come out.)
It’s hard to buy gifts for people that we do not know, so invest a little time to listen and ask intelligent questions that will help you learn more about the person. There’s nothing wrong or tacky with simply coming straight out and asking, “What would you like for a gift?” I greatly appreciate when people have the humility to candidly ask me what I or someone in my family would like.
Buy gifts that would truly delight or help the person you are giving to.
Try to avoid just thinking about what you like and then giving something that you like. Consider who you are giving the gift to, not just what brings you joy to give. Often people focus more on what makes them feel good to give instead of thinking about what will bring delight to the recipient.
My husband especially has received some pretty funny gifts over the years such as cutesy Christmas decorations that just made us laugh. I always struggle when we get silly gifts like that because the frugal part of me is very sad to know that good money was spent on the item but it’s not something that we can use or enjoy.
Before loading a young family with a bunch of toys (they probably already have a lot!), think about what that family actually needs. A gift card to Chick-fil-a? A Patch the Pirate audio adventure? A family season pass to a special museum? A sweet friend recently gifted our family a pass to a Children’s Museum, and we are ecstatic about it! The museum pass is truly a gift that will keep on giving throughout the year.
Realize that not everyone values gifts the same (and that’s okay!).
My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that we would not buy gifts for one another. Gasp! Now as you pick up your jaw off the floor, let me explain our reasoning. I really do not know exactly what my husband wants, and if I went out and bought him something, chances are it’s not what he really wants. The same would be true for what I desire, and chances are my poor hubby would not know exactly what I want (sometimes I do not even know what I want!)
(My husband knows that plants are always a perfect gift for me!)
So I would much prefer that he purchase what he desires/needs on his own and have exactly what he wants. Throughout the year if we desire or need something, we just run the purchase by one another (if it’s over about $100) and then get it. So in way, this is our giving to one another. We save a lot of money this way and have reduced the stress of running out to buy gifts for each other. I realize this may not work for everyone, but this plan works beautifully for us and allows us to stay on target financially and not fill our house with unnecessary stuff.
Gift giving is highly personal, and generational opinions heavily influence how people view gifts. Many young people who grew up drowning in “stuff” now desire a simpler life in our fast-paced world. For those whose lives were touched in some way by the Great Depression, things are valuable and parting with items may be difficult. So keeping in mind a person’s thoughts on literal stuff will be a good starting point for giving.
I know this post was probably a bit strange to some, but I hope it will prompt your thinking and help you to give thoughtfully to those around you. Do you have some favorite thoughtful gifts that you like to give? Do you have any favorite companies that you recommend for buying gifts? I’d love to hear from you! I always love hearing from my readers.
Have a blessed week, friends!
#gift #gifts #giving #gifting #ideas #thoughtful #perfectionism #simple #life #love #listening #friendship #care #concern #friends #children #parents #flowers #flowerkit #compassion #God #love #farmhouse #cottage #cottagecore #scripture #plants