Tis the Season of Giving

What are the holidays all about? For me, it is being surrounded by family, eating lots of good food, the cheerful atmosphere and hopefully, some really good vino. And gifts (duh, there is no escaping it). Here is something to ponder when you are dashing through the snow in a one horse open panic, when you give without expecting anything in return, you are actually actively improving your psychological health. Yup, true.

Gift exchange is a major part of celebrating the holidays, but did you know the act of gift-giving can offer psychological benefits? Giving a gift is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude, as well as strengthen bonds with others. The whole process of searching for the “perfect gift,” gives you an emotional lift. First, determining what needs to be gifted to whom, and second, checking that list twice to be sure your gift fits for the person you have in mind. Gift giving is an act of altruism, a way of expressing unselfish concern for the well-being of others. When you are waiting in that epic checkout line just think… (cue dream music)….

Just think of the expression on the face of the person you will present with with a gift… think of this beautiful way to express feelings. By giving a gift you are reinforcing mutual appreciation and acknowledgement of one another. What matters most is that you try to make the shift from your own mindset (dear lord free me from Macy’s) to someone else’s (OMG I LOVE THIS!). And even if you haven’t thought is out exactly perfectly, you have at the very least taken the time to think, and as the old adage goes…it truly is the thought that counts.

I leave you with O’Henry’s short story, The Gift of the Maji ; a poor couple  give up their most treasured possessions to buy each other Christmas gifts. Della sells her long beautiful hair to buy Jim a chain for his watch, and Jim sells his gold watch to buy tortoise combs for Della’s hair. The gifts are complete deadweight economic losses with no material value to the recipients however the sentimental gains are priceless. Jim’s joy at seeing Della’s happiness at her present was likely greater than his enjoyment of his own gift, and the same can be said for Della.

I truly believe in keeping my focus this season on what the holidays are really about and not on the commercial aspects. And so…

“May no gift be too small to give, nor to simple to receive,

which is wrapped in thoughtfulness and tied with love”

-L.O. Baird

Post authored by Angela DeFillipps.

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