I have a large family and it’s growing, with new in-law kids and grandkids every year. Todd and I try to accomplish the majority of our holiday shopping the week of Thanksgiving, so December has margin to enjoy traditions and spontaneous family moments. Once the calendar turned November, I started preparing mentally for the gift giving season.
Here are the principles I use to keep my heart in the right place and my attitude in check!
- Be intentional. Is this something I would like to receive? Am I just crossing off a list, or if I was the receiver, would this delight me? Have I heard them talk about it? If I have doubts, have I checked with someone else who knows them well? This all takes extra steps and extra thinking, but has saved me more than once from just rushing down the list and buying something no one really wanted.
- Be memorable. Was it special enough that next Christmas, they’ll remember what I took the time and effort to gift it the year before? This means I have to start asking now what they want. I have a form I make my family fill out and turn in before they can eat one bite of turkey. I’ve attached it in case it helps you to gather the intel you need to make the best choices.
- Be generous. With a big family, this doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Is my goal to give my best, or am I trying to get away with giving scraps or buying something just because it seems like a deal? It feels good as the giver to know when someone opens a gift your joy comes from the overflow of the heart, rather than an obligation. Be pure in motive. Am I giving something to get something? Am I trying to send a message?
- Be personal. Is there some way to make it more so- write a note, sharing your heart in giving it? Can you personalize it? Does it say to them- I see you? I see your favorite sports team, book genre, clothing style. I see you struggling with that old tool, or worn out shoes? I see you and I hope my gift to you says that more than anything else.
- Give stories over stuff. People love experiences, because experiences create memories and connection. So give those football tickets, or movie passes, or dinner gift certificates. Give the spa treatment or zoo pass. As we are busy trying to build our family culture, shared time together doing activities they love will pay rich dividends long after the sweaters are outgrown and the kitchen gadget is broken.
This holiday season, if I can help you give a meaningful gift, I’d love to. We are having a book bundle sale on the 3 books I released in 2022, for $40, I’ll send you all three and sign them to the receiver! Just visit recklessfaith.com and under “shop” you’ll find all the details.