Thursday, January 19, 2012

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: The Joy of Giving

I remember when I was a little girl, and would dream about what I would get for Christmas. For many years, the way I would get myself to sleep on Christmas eve was to think about what it would be like if, by some miracle, my parents actually got me a horse! :) Frankly, I didn't know anything about caring for one, but I thought it would be the best gift in the world. I imagined myself riding it to school, and tying it up outside my classroom window. I didn't think about owning a horse the rest of the year, but every Christmas eve, that was what I liked to think about as I was trying to get my anxious self to sleep. I could hardly wait until Christmas morning to see what kind of presents I would get. We weren't a rich family, so I didn't get a huge number of gifts like kids today get. But I appreciated what I got, and looked very forward to that special day each year.

As I grew older and had children of my own, I gained new focus. No longer was I concerned about what I would get, but about the reaction of my family members when they saw the gifts I had gotten for them. Sometimes, if hard pressed, I can think of things I might like to get as a gift. But Christmas no longer has that meaning for me. I confess I would feel sorry for myself if I didn't get a gift at all, but I don't really care that much about the gift side of Christmas as far as I am concerned. The joy in Christmas for me is the giving.

I think people have to be careful with giving though. I do think that if we are not careful, giving can be a way to feel powerful. I have a friend who is not well off financially, but who always feels that they should provide Christmas for those less fortunate. But they do so irresponsibly, and end up in debt, or later without sufficient money to pay bills. They like the feeling of being able to provide gifts for someone else, but realistically aren't in a position to do so. It's a fine line to walk, because we all should be thinking of ways to help other people. But we must examine our motives carefully and make sure that "power" isn't part of those motives. The "joy" we get from giving should be pure, and untainted by feelings of power or superiority.

I do think that most of us could give more than we do. There are many people around us who would like nothing more than a gift of some of our time, or our listening ear. There are others who could use some of the discarded things lying about our house. Giving really does bring us joy, so why don't we make more of an effort to give more, at non-holiday times? Maybe the answer lies in discovering the true joy of giving.

Now discover the joy of reading what our other consortium members have to say about this subject: Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit

8 comments:

Nene said...

I'm like you, Christmas to me is more for the giving. I get so excited about gifts sometime. This year my 2 gifts I was so excited to give was a pair of cowboy boots to one grandson and a toy rifle to the other grandson. My only problem is I always forget to get my camera to catch that moment when they open their gifts. And then there's always the gifts you're not quite as excited about that sometimes get more of an excited reaction from the recipient than you ever expected. I had one of those this year also that that was quite fun! Face it, Christmas and gift-giving at any time is just fun!

Vid said...

I hate giving gifts because I never know what to get anyone. Fortunately, I've never had to give anyone gifts, being always on the receiving end of Christmas.

Rummuser said...

You are bang on. The joy of giving is more in lending a helping hand, an ear or a shoulder to cry on, or just being present during a difficult time, than in gifts of money or material. I find great joy in those, which, for some strange reason, I get to do very often.

Grannymar said...

For me, I treasure most the gift of time.

padmum said...

Gifting food I think the most meaningful gift. Especially if someone is going through a crisis, sending them a dish or a meal makes a great difference to their handling the crisis.

Lovely blog as usual. Did you ever learn to ride a horse? Just curious.

Inklings said...

I agree with you and Nene, for me it is the giving and not the getting of gifts that I focus on now. Christmas now is not what I want materially, but what I give others and the time spent with family that is important. However, I never knew that you hoped for a horse each Christmas. :0) I can just see our parents if you'd actually gotten one. Dee Ice and his brothers did get a pony one Christmas, though.

Conrad said...

Yes, you are right on the mark about Christmas and I am also glad that you bring up the issues of mistaken giving. I have a friend who goes on missions to Uganda and he spoke with me of the care that must be given when giving. Improperly done, it engenders dependence and weakness and his group works to give knowledge and sustainability instead.

cedar51 said...

Sometimes "gift givers" get so over the top with "their love and attention" that you realise there is some ultra-motive (?right word) attached to it.

I have just realised that with a "friend" of mine in the last few weeks...she gives a lot of advice out based on what she deems is right. For Christmas this year she made me a one-person fruit cake but when I asked her the ingredients I realised she had not listened at to me about my food intolerances...

She was then very angry with me! It's my gift to you! because I know you are alone (I'm only live alone), you won't be able to afford a cake like this (I bake alot)

Then as I thought about your theme, I realised there were a whole lot of other things she said and did this last year that fell into "My Gift to You" - not "the Joy of Giving"