Giving is a cherished human attribute. From an early age a child will reach out its hand to offer a toy or even some food. Sharing is an intrinsic part of our social nature and brings us an instant connection to others.
But has today’s modern consumerism tainted the value of giving?
Sentiment cards are useful if you struggle to find the right words to tell someone how you feel, face to face. The poetic verses in occasion cards help us to show we care. But pressure on people to buy for others simply because it is a certain day, tends to move us away from the true meaning of giving. When occasions such as Christmas become such a financial burden that people borrow money, surely it must be time to stop and reconsider.
Manufacturers and the powers of consumer marketing tend to feed on our honest desire to give children a memorable Christmas. Parents feel obliged to purchase the latest ‘must have’ toy or game. For many, Christmas has become a battle to ensure they have bought enough presents and, more importantly, the right ones, so that young faces are beaming and not miserable.
Giving is an act of generosity and kindness and therefore should be an exchange of goodwill. The reciprocity does not have to be the exchange of an equally costly present. “What do you want for Christmas?” is a question often followed by “I don’t know, what do you want?” Is there any value is this sort of exchange? Perhaps there is. For even in asking the question, you might learn something about what might bring a little joy to the other person.
When all is said and done, we all know the system. We know Christmas can be stressful and costly. And we all have a choice whether or not to take part in the consumer aspects of it. There are ways to lighten the load and make it more about the heartfelt act of giving rather than the monetary amount you spend.
Perhaps though, there is just something about the occasion that makes us all want to give, no matter what the cost. Having a purpose for giving is the very reason why many of us willingly get caught up in the festive furore. Christmas connects to our compassionate heart and our inner desire to share with others. Whilst the hectic preparations for the event might not be something we all relish, the end result is a special day in the year where we focus on exchanging gifts and spending precious time with those we love. Perhaps the giving of the gift is just the prelude, and what we really seek is the connection, the warmth, and the togetherness that the exchange offers.