The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry if you’ve offended someone by tucking a gift card into their stocking. Anything that involves money, emotions, family, and an aspect of performatism, can, indeed, be pure hell.
Why so stressful?
Well, gift giving is a language of love and therefore involves the act of truly seeing and understanding another. Spending a lot of time over the thought of gifts is not abnormal – the foundation of the act is something that takes an enormous amount of time and effort.
In addition, giving gifts communicates through a symbolic functions — verifying relationships, celebrating transitions — as well as the practical function of filling a need. And, this is a particular point of difficulty for gift giving.in today’s age: For the first time ever, most of us have too much stuff and not enough money.
While practicalists are busy handing out cash and blenders for the holidays, marketing experts have long found that people get the most satisfaction from “useless” experiences that have emotional impact, like going on a beautiful bike ride. Researchers believe this is especially true for older people, who derive much more pleasure from experiences than possessions.
With a little planning, the act of giving can be fun and meaningful for both the giver and the receiver! In the hopes of making this season a bit easier for those of you reading, 360 Living has a bit of advice on how to give gifts, thoughtfully.
Thinking From Both Perspectives:
Before going about your gift hunting think about who you are buying for, the nature of your relationship, and what you want to communicate with your gift. Some important things to ask yourself are:
- What need am I trying to fill – an emotional need or a practical need?
- What is the love language of the person I am giving to? What is my personal love language?
- What are some of the best gifts I have been given?
- Is the gift something you would want to keep?
- Is this gift presentable? Does it show that I put forth time and effort?
Making Your Gift Personal:
Gift giving, as a language of love, should evoke an emotion. While this can be done multiple ways, the best way to ensure your gift evokes emotion is to make it personal. When picking out your gift ask yourself:
- Would this make the person I am thinking of laugh or improve their mood?
- Does this gift show I took time to think about the person?
- Does this gift reflect my ability to listen?
- Is this a detailed gift?
- Does this gift reflect the personality of the person I am giving to?
How to Make Gift Giving Intentional:
Gift giving is hard because it takes effort, time, communication, and a dedication to knowing another person (and letting them know you). But those are all things worth doing for the people you care about in your life. Gifts, of course, are just one way of showing you’ve really seen your person — but they can be a pretty darn good one. When searching for an intentional gift, ask yourself:
- Am I focused of the reaction of the person I am giving to?
- Does this gift reflect the gratitude I have for the person I am thinking of?
- Does this gift align with emotional and practical values?
- Does this gift align with the person I am giving to’s emotional an practical values?
- Is this a loving gift?
Giving a Gift That is Personal and Useful:
Before jumping into personal and practical gifts, let’s not forget that a useful gift can also be defined as a gift that provides an experience for the person you are buying for. A useful gift fills a need. People need a lot of things when you think about needs from a 360 perspective. When searching for both a personal and practical gift, ask yourself:
- Does this gift reflect something I know about this person?
- Does this gift help with a problem they mentioned?
- Is this gift up-to-date with the person I am thinking of’s lifestyle?
- Is this something the person I am thinking of asked for?
- Will this gift improve the quality of the person I am thinking of’s life?
Gifts, both receiving and giving, can be stressful – so it is important to consider ways you can minimize your stress this season. Despite the possible stress, gift giving is worth doing for the people you care about in your life. Gifts, of course, are just one way of showing you’ve really seen your person — but they can be a pretty darn good one. So to us, it’s worth the time and effort!
Lastly, here are some 360 gifts you may find worth giving: