This is probably our last Christmas in the U.S. for several years. While Kassie and I are in “can’t wait” mode for the move to Europe, our extended family is less giddy. I think the grandkids play a major role in this melancholy. So, since we won’t be around for a family Christmas party for quite a while, we’ve decided to be a lot more thoughtful with this year’s gifts.
- We’re buying a few more gifts. Usually, we exchange names on my side of the family and each adult buys for another adult. Even though we’re doing that, we’ve also shopped for something meaningful for each grow-up or couple. Even though this means we’ve only bought 3 or 4 more presents than usual, we’re excited to be able to give more. It makes us really happy to give presents.
- I’m buying fewer books. If you’re a person who loves books and learning like I do, then you might have a tendency to over-gift books. I’ve been guilty of this way too often. Friends: just ‘cuz books make you happy doesn’t mean they make other people happy, too. And sometimes people think it’s kind of “cold” to receive books and the like at Christmas. Unless a person specifically told us they wanted a specific book, we didn’t buy any.
- More research. Even though I like to think I’m a good gift giver, we’ve been even more diligent this year to buy presents that the recipient will be really happy about. This means finding out what they want, not what I think they should want.
The bottom line with giving presents is the same bottom line in all of life for Christians: What is the most loving thing I can do right now? Sometimes this means buying a great present, sometimes it’s writing a heartfelt note, and sometimes it’s spending your time, energy, and patience to be around people and love them.
No matter how we give of our lives or money this week, God has given us plenty of grace to love our friends and family. Now, may He remind us to draw from that huge reservoir instead of white-knuckling our way through.