The Practicality of Giving Gifts

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“Sure, I’d be happy to.” That was my answer to Ms. Josie of ABS-CBN Baguio when she asked me to give an interview on ‘the practicality of giving gifts.’ At first, I was hesitant to give the interview for some reasons but those same reasons are the reasons that pushed me to say yes. Then I told her, “I can give tips but I would give answer more on the mindset toward giving gifts during Christmas in the context of practicality.”

The interview was shown as a short segment on Naimbag Nga Morning Kapamilya last December 1. In today’s column, I’d like to retell some salient points on the topic as we try to answer the questions why, who, what and how.

First, WHY do we give gifts? Before we talk about the practicality of gift giving, we need to talk about the psychology of it. A very basic question it is but often forgotten or confusingly answered. You and I need to be reminded that the reason we give gifts is because we want to express our love. In other words, we want to give love. At times, problems come in if the reason we give gifts is expect love to be given back or a similar expression of love is demanded back. Having that as a reason could cause a problem. Thus, the reason has to be grounded on the truth that you give gifts because you want to give or express love.

While giving gifts would have natural and incidental returns like good impression, recognition, or return of the expression of love, the reason should still be grounded on that. If we receive recognition or a return of that expression, and if we were able to create an impression, those are simply the natural effects but should not be the motivation why we give.

Second, WHO do we give gifts? You most probably have the answer: family, friends and fellow (workmates, civic organizations and other community members). It also has to be in this order – it starts from the family, then to the friends… and if there’s more, it proceeds to the ‘fellows.’ In times that what we have is limited, the more it would be critical to have this priority in mind. There were times that I got this in the wrong sequence and this is an apt reminder for me, too. In this way, when resources are limited and you can only give to three instead of ten, then it would be okay since you started within the family rather than outside (e.g. someone in the community).

Third: WHAT do we give as gifts? And the answers to this question are the following questions, “What do I have? How much do I have?” This operates on the premise that ‘we cannot give what we do not have.’ After we have established what we have to give, we then ask the question “What do they (the receiver) need, want or like?” At this stage, it would give a bit of a challenge because by then we need to start considering an outside factor. Also, there may be the move to match what they need, want or like to what we have to give. If these two are aligned, then it would be a more convenient situation otherwise we have to stay true what we can give. Hence, we need to give another answer to the question, “What do I have to give?”

In this note, it is better to be reminded of the reason why we give gifts – which is to express love. To express love could be in different forms – in the form of things, talks, time and touch. Things would be the popular notion of gifts, like something that could be eaten (food), worn (clothing), or used (tools). Talks could be something verbally expressed like “I love you.” and “Thank you.” Time could be coming together, to come into the presence of each other and spend time together – in a party, game, or any get-together. Touch could probably be in the form of an embrace. When resources are limited, we don’t have to be confined with the thinking that gifts come in ‘things’ – your time, talk, and touch could also be your gift.

Fourth: HOW do we give gifts? When we are considering of the common gifts (in the form of things), we need to have a budget. How much money can we spend? How much will we allot for each person in the family you’d like to give gifts to? Will it be P100 per person? P200? P300? P500? P1000? The amount is for you to decide depending on how much you can afford. Keep in mind that your reason is to express love – not to impress or anything.

On this part, you may also have to plan where you can buy the thing you want to give. Will it be at a mall? Wagwagan? Divisoria? Baclaran? Or any other place that would have what you want to give and would fit in your budget. If the gift will be in the forms of talk, time or touch, perhaps you also need to plan on how you go about it.

Answering these four questions – why, who, what and how – in relation to the practicality of gift-giving could help us in going about expressing our love, appreciation, and care to the people we love. As the Christmas season draws near when gift-giving is part of the tradition, pondering on these questions could be of help. Whatever form of gift we could give – thing, talk, time or touch – may it be an expression of love as you desire and may it be received to nurture the relationship of you (the giver) and your loved one (the receiver).

(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. His first book ‘The Gift of the Ordinary’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and in Central Bookstores (Metro Manila and Cebu). For seminars and resources, visit www.chrispoweracademy.com or email chrisdaoanis@ymail.com.)

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