Ample time and energy are spent buying gifts for the holidays. We all do this. We make our lists, we work our lists, and we hope our gift hits the mark.
What if we put equal energy into reflecting on what our gift giving has to say — about us?
The gifts we give hold great potential to reveal our own thinking. That’s what a gift is. It’s our idea of what another needs, wants, or could use. So see your gift to another as a window into your own mind.
Some of us give gifts that, if we are being honest, are things we wanted for ourselves. That cozy robe. Those new airpods. That nifty new tool for the kitchen. If you purchased anything for another that you want for yourself, go buy yourself that gift and say, this is me taking care of me.
Other gifts may not be literal wants, but they reveal to us a general category of wants that we could focus on. Did you give a lot of gifts that center on personal care? Did you give everyone gifts that make them safer? Did you dole out presents that suggest you want more time alone?
If you take your gift list, and organize it not by recipient, but by category, you will detect themes. And those themes are things that only you can detect because they are literally ideas that only you hold. What are you trying to say by giving everyone food gifts? Why are you enamored with gifts that are trying to be funny? Why would you have an entire category of gifts that reflect a desire to travel?
Here’s a hint. Your themes are a reflection of what you think.
Here’s a hint. Your themes are a reflection of what you think. Often, the theme shows us a want. Sometimes the theme shows us what we fear. And sometimes the theme shows us what we would like the other person to be doing. No matter the revelation, the message is for you.
Gift giving is an intensely personal act that reveals much about where we were, when we purchased the gift. What can you learn from your gift giving this past season? What wants can you harvest from your categories of themes? What fears could you clear out by noticing them in your gifts?