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The Holiday Season Isn’t A Swap Meet

December 17, 2009

The holiday season isn’t about a swap meet.  It’s supposed to be a ‘heart’ meet, where people connect and celebrate the religious, cultural, or social significance of the season.

Focus on the Season, But Don’t Forget the Reason

Just as it is important to reflect on the reason for the season, it is equally important to focus on the reason for giving.   Many do not give ‘just for the joy of giving’, but instead give as a reciprocal duty or obligation.  Someone gives you a gift and you feel obligated to give back.  In this heartless exchange, no one wins.

When you miss the spirit of giving, little thought is put into the gift itself.  You look for a good sale where the price is reasonable and the discount is huge.  You leave on the full price sticker so that it appears that you spent more than you actually did.  The gift may even be something that the person cannot or will not value, use, or appreciate.  In some cases you may just regift something you were given that you don’t want.

Put Your Heart Into It

When the heart is not in the gift and no serious thought is taken to think about what would make the other person happy, the gift can trigger the opposite emotion.  Instead of bringing joy, it could backfire and make the receiver angry especially if they feel that their gift was more expensive or more thoughtful than the one that they received.  We can avoid a lot of this when we give for the sake of giving and realize that a gift is its own reward.  Radiance and I have a private story about this very same thing.  She went out of her way to give a friend a very generous gift and was very displeased with the gift she got in return.  To this day she calls the girl, “crappy gift giver.’

My humble advice to you, if you can’t give with the right attitude, then it’s probably better to not give at all.  After all, it is the season to be jolly and if you’re not happy, then you’ve missed the point!

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit  my website.
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