Reasons (or Excuses) for Gift-Giving

Somewhere in my past, I read an older book by philosopher/psychologist Paul Tournier –written before 1980 makes it ‘old’ right?  It was especially suitable for a parent to read, because the references were often made to how we feel about gifts based on our childhood memories, and how our parents ‘used’ gifts in our upbringing–or discipline.  Now that my calling is to promote ‘alternative gifting’, the burden on parenting/mentoring  is again clear.  This organization — Alternative Gifts International–was founded by a Christian educator to help children have a practical understanding of the value of giving, rather than receiving.  Without quoting the numerous research, studies and writings, which are set out to validate that adage, I encourage you to think about your own experience of gift-receiving and gift-giving. 

Unfortunately, the modern day use of advertising provides us more invalid reasons for giving gifts than those that will make us feel good about giving.  My guess is that most ads are written to entice the person to want the gift, rather than want to give the gift. 

Think about this:  Do you give gifts in hopes that the score will be kept even and your gift will be reciprocated?  Do you give out of obligation? (Imagine the husband who is buying the diamond that he knows his wife wants… even though he is really thinking of the golf clubs he would rather purchase with that money).  Yes, we can deal with these issues with humor, or we can see the serious nature of what is being unconsciously conveyed. 

Why do we only send holiday greetings to employees, vendors and clients at Christmas/year-end?  Are they only sent by/to Christians?  Of course not!  Is there such a thing as a New Year gift?   Why don’t we send Valentine’s greetings to our employees, vendors, clergy, neighbors and clients? Would it be deemed too emotional, or too personal? 

If you really care about the people who provide your livelihood, consider giving a gift in their honor that will help Haiti earthquake victims recover their lives.  Visit the following link to support Project 39 http://alternativegifts.org/projects/project39 – All donations through February 28th will go directly to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Peace & Blessings,

Lea McCloud – President