Overcoming the Dread of Christmas Gift Giving

Christmas shopping may be something you dread because your choice of gift reveals something about you. Your choice of gift can show up how much or little you know about the person you are buying for, the kind of relationship you have with them, your relationship with money and finally, they can make public your taste. For example joke gifts should be given with caution as they may be received as that one hint too many and not funny. “Suitable” gifts such as alcohol or food are devoid of emotion and can make perfect gifts to those you have a professional relationship with. Beware of giving the “utility” household gift to someone you love as practical gift giving carries a message. Be mindful that you do not embarrass the receiver by giving a gift the other cannot reciprocate, this can provoke feelings of obligation and guilt.

Instead, consider what interests the person you are buying for. Regardless of gender the most important part of gift giving is the other. Consider the identity of the person you are buying for. What makes them feel most loved? Not everyone derives positive feelings from receiving gifts. For some people it might be the gift of quality time spent with them. Think of gifts that may not be wrapped up but demonstrate how much you know about your loved one. For example, an adventure to another country, a body treatment or facial, a music festival, a play or musical, a day spent with a fashion stylist, one to one coaching to improve some element of a persons life, a donation to a charity or a day spent volunteering or, a framed photograph. The gift is secondary to the thought given to it.

Gift giving without expecting anything in return is an act of altruism - unselfish concern for the welfare of others and can strengthen your psychological health. To give without expectation is the true nature of what it means to give. Take time to appreciate the expression on the face of the receiver and generate as much joy as possible. Equally, when you receive a gift stay with each positive feeling - remind yourself of the thought and time given to choosing the gift and try to give thanks for the giver regardless of the gift they give.

Gifts given in the right faith can convey appreciation, acknowledgement and gratitude. They can offer an opportunity to strengthen connections between the gift giver and the receiver. On the contrary though, if a person buys a gift that does not convey what the receiver expected, gift giving has the potential to derive feelings of resentment.

A ban of gift exchanges during Christmas can be a good idea - although gift buying can strengthen your psychological health and create opportunities to develop bonds with people, it can be stress inducing and a financial burden. You can acknowledge and appreciate your loved ones all year round without having to give gifts. An alternative approach if your family decides to ban gift exchanges at Christmas could be a gathering or party to celebrate the company of one another annually.

Gift giving is a way to show rather than tell another person what you think of them.  In theory, there are two important aspects to giving gifts, the good energy one feels from giving the gift and the gratitude one feels from receiving it. The most important part of gift giving is the thought, not the amount of money spent. The personally crafted item made with love is much more valuable than the most expensive gift.