“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank
Do we give gifts just because we are obligated to do so? Or do we do so because we respect and appreciate the receiver? These are questions we should ask ourselves before gifting.
When we gift someone, we should think of what the person would like to receive and his or her tastes. Just palming off something we do not like would not be appreciated by the recipient. We should remember that thoughtful gifting gives out positive energies.
The simplest material gift is cash or cheque. This saves our time and we also do not gift something the recipient would not like to have. Gifting a cheque to newlyweds so that they can spend the money as per their requirements makes sense. But in order to personalize this gift, we could use a pretty envelope and card.
Handmade gifts are always appreciated. If you have a flair for painting, paint on a T-shirt and gift it to your friend. If you are a good cook, bake a cake for her or him.
Gifting, even though we will not get any return gift, has its own rewards. For instance, at festival time, gift a box of sweets to an orphanage nearby and see the joy on the faces of the little tots. You could, along with your friends, organize a party for these kids with fun games and goodies.
But there are also non-material gifts. There was once a barely literate widow who brought up her son by working hard in other people’s homes in order to give him a good education and put nutritious food on the table. She always insisted that they share a meal together. When the boy started working, he started forgetting to spend time with his mother. He started chilling with his friends. After all in a big city there is always something to do — playing video games, going for movies, and just whiling away time. He felt ashamed of his mother, the pokey room they lived in, her calloused hands and never brought his pals home. He bought his mother a fancy watch for Christmas. He was sure that she would be delighted. Imagine his surprise when she turned to him with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you for your lovely gift my son. I know it came from your heart. But day after day I long for you to come home so that we can eat together. What I would have appreciated more was your time.”
“Remember how you loved me once, my son? You would come home and help me with the household work. You said that once you started earning, you didn’t want me to work in other people’s homes any more. And you kept your word. I am happy that you are enjoying your work and that you have time to spend with your friends. Yet it would be nice if we could once again chat like we did before.”
In our world today, we think that a gift can compensate for spending time with a near and dear one. Love displayed through material goods is shallow.
Another way to show that we love someone is by giving that person a patient ear. We may have an old grandmother or elderly uncle living with us. It’s no laughing matter for four generations to live together in a pokey apartment. The elderly tend to be repetitive, recounting the same story over and over again. So we try to escape. We may even do some charitable work such as helping in literacy classes. That is truly commendable but charity begins at home. We must make time to listen to long stories at least once in a while, to hear a about grandmother’s illnesses. The elderly are lonely, even when surrounded by family. They need our empathy. Trust me. You will be rewarded when you see the broad smile on grandma’s face because you spared some time for her.
Another such gift is that of knowledge. For instance, a student who is good in Maths could spend some time coaching his classmates who are weak in the subject.
I conclude with the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”