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The Joy of Gift Giving

For as long as I can remember, I've always derived more joy in buying, packaging and giving gifts than in receiving gifts. Not that I don't appreciate getting gifts, there's just been something about accepting them that has always made me feel uncomfortable, especially generous gifts from others. I remember the days when I used to work in corporate America and during this time of year so many go to great lengths to buy gifts for co-workers, bosses and colleagues. I used to feel such sadness to see people's negative reactions to what they received and thought this should not be the experience of gift-giving because happiness is a by-product of giving when it's done with the right motive. I'm already uncomfortable with getting gifts and it would make me feel even worse if I knew that it was given to me under compulsion - most likely, I would politely decline that gift just to avoid the pain that it's caused the giver to get it, and from keeping me from losing sleep at night knowing that it was not given with the right intentions. So I'm very grateful that all the gifts that I've been surprised with throughout this year have come from willing hearts and were completely unexpected, which to me, are the best types of presents. 

When you think about it, what kind of gift would make you feel truly appreciative? No doubt it's the one from someone who is motivated by love rather than by a sense of duty or obligation. When it comes to giving, motive does matter. The sense of joy that is experienced when you know a gift is from someone who genuinely put thought into it, actually pondered over your particular needs and asks herself  'what can I do to fill those needs', resulting in a something that is personalized just for you makes it so much more valuable no matter how "big or small". On the other hand, a grudging, or reluctant, giver gives from a heart made sorrowful at the thought of parting with either (a) money, or (b) to someone they can't even stand, but end up giving because he or she feels pressured to do so, and (c) some simply are made to feel that in order for their gift to be acceptable, it must be purchased at a certain store or fall within a particular price range. Who of us really wants to receive a gift from a reluctant or forced giver? After all, the most important thing is the giver's heart attitude, not the material value of the gift. So whether we are giving of our time, energy or material possessions, let us do so of our own free will and because we find genuine pleasure in being generous to others. Such cheerful giving will not only make us happy but also endear us to others thus, affording both parties to experience the true joy that comes from being a cheerful giver.

From left to right...

1. This Hermes soap came at one of the most unexpected moments when a friend came over for dinner.

2. Great Gatsby movie came as a surprise from the hubby who walked in with it this summer for he knew I wanted to see it for the longest time.

3. I'm always thrilled at acquiring some vintage pieces, and this was a nice little gift set from the mother-in-law

4. A girl friend knows how much I love tea/high tea and fancy tea pots, so she treated me to this lovely piece from her own personal collection. What makes it even more special is that it comes from her country - Hungary, which was a pleasant surprise.

5. The reserva Del Senor tequila reposado came straight from Mexico via a girlfriend who knows I love to entertain and like to have a fully stocked bar of all kinds of spirits for everyone's pleasure. I still have not used it yet.

6. I'm one of the rare individuals that still uses a mouse with my laptop and the hubby decided to surprise me with this bright cheery mousepad to reflect my lively personality on an otherwise white desk.

7. I have a slight obsession with collecting pretty journals. Unbeknownst to her, a newly acquired friend handed me a little bag one night and in it was this lovely journal with a jewel colored peacock on the cover, which of course, made my day.

8. Cozy soft as butter moisturizing socks are one of my favorite things to have on during the cold winter months, so this lovely fragrant pair accompanied by a small Jergens lotion to moisturize was  such a kind gesture from a thoughtful friend to every girl at a girl's night out.

9. Now when a little Italian grandma holds your hands and slips you a cute pair of gold earrings such as these little star ones, you know they are gifts that you'll cherish for as long as you live and forever hold dear the warmth that was felt in the manner in which it was delivered [insert a hear here].

10. One of my dearest and longest, gracious friend brought me a box of cookies from Hawaii. Tins are another one of those things that I like to collect, so this one will be a cherished tin and will always remind me of her kindness.

11. These pieces of jewelry came from another dear friend that is one of the most solid individuals I've ever met and truly cherish having in my life.

12. It's not too often you get to bathe with an Italian soap bar the size of ostrich egg - a gift that put a smile on my face every time I used it. It was put to good use. Thanks Cinhwa!

13. There's a funny story connected to these socks that my husband calls "the grandma socks" that I'll spare you from, but every time I see them, I get a good laugh and have such a fond memory of how I got them as a gift.

If you're truly feeling generous and wanting to give from the heart, check out my gift-guides for some of my favorite picks.

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