Elle Squared

When It Comes to Holiday Gifts Is It Only the Thought That Counts?

Doni Landy

Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop in eclectic boutiques. Every time I am about to walk into one of my favorite haunts I feel excited, anticipating what treasures I will find – a bracelet, a clutch, a jacket. My closet is a one of a kind, as it should be, a reflection of my lifestyle and life. So is my home filled with scented candles, home accessories from around the world, gourmet coffee, fine wine, and books, all of which provide a pleasing aesthetic in some way.

What I love even more than buying for myself is buying for others. Whether I am shopping for a close friend or family member or someone I am just getting to know, I revel in the challenge of picking the perfect present, sharing one of my favorite finds, and anticipating that they will love the gift as much as I do. You may be thinking that is easier said than done, especially if you are buying for an acquaintance. But therein lies the beauty.

When we buy for others, regardless of our relationship with them, we have the power to give someone else happiness. Not only for the few moments when that person is receiving the gift, but also for years afterward. That is the art to gift giving, which is sometimes overlooked especially during holiday time as we struggle to fulfill our lists, crossing people off after we find the not-so-perfect gift for them, rationalizing that they can return it if they don’t like it.

At that point, the gift is no longer a gift but, instead, an obligation. We have all been in the situation, myself included, where time is short, money is tight, and we just want to get through the holidays unscathed and as quickly as we can, incurring as little “collateral damage” along the way to our schedule and wallets.

The truth is, gift giving never has to be this way. We have all said at one time or another, “It’s the thought that counts” and “It’s better to give than receive.” That’s because these expressions ring true, but only if we deliberately and unselfishly put ourselves in that mindset.

The best way to become a successful gift-giver is to focus on how we give and not what we give. The gifts we give to someone – perfume, a winter scarf, a home accessory, or a ring – is secondary to the moments we spend thinking about the relationship we have with that person and how we would like to show them our appreciation.

I have many people in my life that I would like to thank, from my family to my friends to the people who offer their services to me all year long. These individuals touch my life in significant ways, enabling me to enjoy the life I do. Though we are always free to thank them every day and hopefully do, the holidays are a reminder that we sometimes need to stop, slow down, and remember how we got to where we are today.

By thinking about gifts in this way, by recalling and acknowledging what a particular person brings into our life despite how well we know them personally, the act of finding a gift becomes part of the gift itself. And the once dreaded shopping trip to procure that gift suddenly becomes easier and more enjoyable. Even better is if we invite a friend to share our time with while still being productive.

Of course, we can never be certain that the recipient of our gift will love it as much as we do or want to keep it, though chances are if we are excited about the gift they will be, too. Inevitably, if we have given of ourselves in the process, what the recipient will recognize is that we gave our gift with thoughtfulness, care, and thanks. And it will be them, not us, who says, “It’s the thought that counts.” Because it does.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT GIVING GIFTS?

Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.

Read “Do Clothes Make the Woman?”