Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gift Exchange

Gift : 1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present. 2. the act of giving. 3. a special ability or capacity; natural endowment; talent: the gift of saying the right thing at the right time

Give: 1. To present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow: to give a birthday present to someone. 2. To relinquish or sacrifice: to give one's life for a cause. 3. v. to make a gift or gifts; contribute: to give to the United Way.

White Elephant Gift Exchange: An exchange of items found around the house of little to no value that have outlived their usefulness. The goal is to be humorous rather than to give a gift of value or that benefit the receiver.
Which one of these things is not like the other? I’ve always been taught that it’s better to give than to receive and while giving the focus should be on the one you are giving the gift not you. As a Christian, I learned that one should give to God in secret. By extension this means to me, we shouldn’t be trying to make ourselves the center of attention when giving a gift. It has always seemed to me that the goal of a white elephant gift exchange ends up being to make the giver the center of attention. Isn’t that incredibly selfish? I read this online a few days ago:
“One of the biggest lessons I learned is that for many people, gift giving is a chore. YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT, SCROOGE.
- If you are shopping for a wedding present, it means someone you care for is starting an exciting new chapter in life. You should be filled with joy and enthusiasm. If you can't muster at least a good grace about it, why are you even buying a gift?.
- If you are shopping for Christmas/holiday presents, you presumably have both some money AND friends and/or family. Lucky, lucky you! What a gift to be able to share with others. Attitude is everything.”

All of this is very, very true. Why then do we turn it into something centered on ourselves? Please consider this before you participate in your next gift exchange.

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