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The gift of gift-giving

December 24, 2009 - Betsy Bethel
If there's anything more exciting than receiving a perfect gift you weren't expecting, it's watching someone open the surprise perfect gift you gave them!

It's not really the "thought" that counts. It's the thoughtfulness.

I have a couple of relatives who are masters at gift-giving. During visits and conversations over the course of the year, their brains are like Velcro, attaching to facts that even hint of a loved one's need or a desire. My aunt is a good example: Mention in passing during the family Easter egg hunt that you found the last episode of "House" fascinating, and she'll present you with the entire series on DVD at Christmas.

My sister is another good example of a genius gift-giver. Of course, it's easy for us to buy for one another because we're so alike. If I love it, she'll love it. Easy peasy. (Not so easy on the bank account, however — I am constantly finding things I'll — I mean, she'll — love!)

Wishing I, too, had the gift of giving perfect gifts, I try to emulate these perceptive present pickers. For example, I try never, ever to buy gift cards or give cash. But have you noticed, the older you get, the harder it is to buy the perfect gift for teen-agers? If you can afford it, chances are they don't want it. I caved and got my two teen-age nieces Aeropostale gift cards this year. Since that's all one of them ever wears, I'm hoping that it WILL be the perfect gift, after all!

The trick to giving meaningful gifts is to arm yourself with every bit of knowledge you have of a person, then shop with love in your heart, no matter how much — or how little — you have in your wallet.

When you put yourself into it like that, your recipients can hardly be disappointed, and neither will you, as you bask in the glow of their surprised and smiling faces on Christmas.

But even if you had no money for gifts this year, it costs nothing to show you care. Write "love" notes to family members and friends. Give the gift of time or expertise. Best of all, give them your "presence."

Giving gifts, whether material or not, allows us the opportunity to see another's eyes light up with joy and gratitude.

And by the way, God has even my aunt and sister beat in the gift-giving department. I am thankful for the greatest and most perfect gift of all, the "reason for the season," Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

A wondrous and blessed Christmas to you all!


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