I LOVE GIVING PRESENTS! I live to find perfect gifts for people and find great joy when their eyes light up with just how perfectly customized it is for them. It’s never about how much money I spend it’s the hunt, and the excitement of giving someone something that I know they’ll use or LOVE. I discovered one of my friends who volunteers at my church every Sunday morning always stops at Panera for a hazelnut coffee so I got him a $10 gift card so the next few weeks are one me. Another time I heard a friend mention she really liked brown betty tea pots when we just happened to be talking about tea. I remembered and several months later I got her that tea pot for their birthday, it made her day and she could hardly believe I had remembered. It’s just fun! It brings joy to my heart. Admittedly, there is a delicate battle of ego not to let being pretty good at giving gifts go to my head so I do as much as I can to keep myself in check. There is a very fine line between giving a gift because you know it’s going to bless someone like crazy and giving a gift so you can look super awesome. In Real Mom Talk: Receiving Graciously, Heather opened her heart up about an experience she had when someone gave her family a meal. The timing was spot on for her family, thankfully it doesn’t sound like the givers put on a show of just how wonderful they were and good for them.
Recently, I was in a small local store standing in line waiting to make my purchase. A family walked in, a mom, dad, and two small children. I happened to make eye contact with the little boy and suddenly everything in my heart wanted to give family something. I was so anxious and excited the lady in front of me seemed to be taking forever. Finally it was my turn; I asked the cashier if they had gift certificates, no. They didn’t have a debit/ cash back option either and I had no cash in my wallet. I quickly took my stuff to the car and thankfully there was a Walgreens right next door. It was so exciting. I walked over there as fast as I could, grabbed a simple Christmas card and some fun candy for the kids… of course the line was LONG again. I got the cash, placed it inside the card, wrote “Merry Christmas” and did not sign my name. My heart was racing, I was praying they hadn’t left the store yet, I went back in and started anxiously looking for them, finally I spotted them and then I quickly asked for everyone’s attention in the store and made my very generous gift presentation. JUST KIDDING! Making sure you’re paying attention. I actually hung back a minute, waited for a moment when the kids were distracted, tapped dad on the shoulder, handed him the card and candy and quietly said, “I just felt like I’m supposed to give this to you. Merry Christmas” and quickly turned around, didn’t look back, and walked out. I love the fact that those children probably have no idea what happened… that maybe just maybe that money was something those parents needed to buy Christmas presents, or maybe simply food for that family. The bottom line is, it wasn’t about me, I would rather those parents feel loved and blessed and be able to love and bless their children – to me, that is the best part of giving that gift.
I struggled sharing the story above – it’s actually the first time I’ve publically told anyone, but I wanted to share the joy of sneaking that little gift. Of course all gift giving doesn’t have to be covert or anonymous, it’s entirely appropriate to be open when giving gifts. People always say, “It’s the thought that counts” and I know during a season that is pretty much defined by giving gifts it’s easy to get wrapped up in comparisons of the elaborate present someone else gave you and they weren’t even on your list or revel in the glory of the exact perfect present you’ve picked out for some one. I also understand there are situations where gifts are obligatory, in these situations we should choose to give with joy and be excited about the opportunity to make someone’s world a little brighter. Just as we should all be gracious in receiving gifts, no matter what they may be, we should also give with grace, be thoughtful of how you give to others, and make them feel like it’s all about them and not about you.
Have you ever given a sneaky gift or been on the receiving end from a stealth Santa? Were the gifts given with grace?