Growing up, my family only gave gifts at Christmas and on birthdays. I never saw my parents ever give a wrapped present to anyone “just because.” Now, they weren’t stingy people, they were good people, helpful people, salt of the earth kind of people but, that was just how they operated and so I was expected to act the same. This was hard for me cause I saw all sorts of reasons to give.
Because of these “house rules” I looked so forward to Christmas, it truly was (and is still to me) the most wonderful time of the year. Thinking of the perfect gift for each person on my list made me so happy. However, unlimited funds I didn’t have so I had to be very creative. One year, I think I was 16, I had a list of about 12 friends that I wanted to give something too. I finally decided on giant, brown, satin, stuffed gingerbread boys, with little pom pom’s for eyes and buttons and fabric cord for the “cookie” decoration. This was the week before Christmas, so each night for five nights my mom and I hand stitched these 36-inch gingerbread boy pillows. The night after we were finished I put on my brothers latest Halloween costume, a Santa suit, I wrapped each one in a big box, loaded my sleigh (my brothers green Malibu) and set off to deliver my gifts. It’s one of my fondest memories. Christmas morning was a bit of a let down for me that year, I so enjoyed giving those gingerbread boys.
Now, along with the policy of not giving gifts outside of the major holiday’s, my parents also made it clear that I wasn’t allowed to accept a gift when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas. So, when boys came into the picture, I can remember hiding gifts in my closet. How do you say “no” to things like teddy bears, leather name bracelets and initial necklaces from someone you can’t stop thinking about?
I grew up thinking it was not proper behavior to give or to receive outside of the designated holiday’s. I think that’s why today I still have to stop myself from automatically saying “no-thank you” when people offer me their help, or other tokens. I’ve had to learn to be a better gift giver because being a good receiver is a big part of being an exceptional giver.
“Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.” —Wally Lamb
Fast forward to today, I make it a habit to give of my time, my words and special gifts every day. Anyone who crosses my path is fair game to receive a gift from me whether it’s a text of encouragement, an email of congratulations or a gift that I can’t wait to give. I used to feel embarrassed to reach out to people whom weren’t close friends but, now I do it on a regular basis. How else do you become closer ?
So, share your love, your time, your kind words, presents, yes, lots of presents. Remember the occasions in people’s lives and send that text, email or present to show you remember the big things and the little things. Graduations, first days of school, days where you know important conversation’s are going to be had, surgery days, medical test result days…. and yes, sometimes ” just because.”
Show up in other people’s lives as the kind, generous, beautiful soul that you are.
You never know when your “gift” will be the answer to a prayer at the exact moment they need it. xoxo