The season of gift giving and receiving is upon us. How is it possible that time of year again? As we paused to think about this fact, we looked up the meaning of gift. Oxford Languages offers two definitions: 1. a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. Think, birthday gift. Or 2. a natural ability or talent. Think, she’s a gifted vocalist. (That would clearly be Paula.)
Let’s think about the present aspect of gift giving first. It’s fun to think about the gifts we will give each other this year. It’s exciting to shop for them, fun to creatively wrap them and even better to give them. But the best part is watching the other person open her gift and see that big smile appear. We love it when we hit a homerun with our gifts for each other! (Just like Paula did last week for my birthday – she knocked it out of the park! Thanks again!)
Gifts come in many shapes and sizes. Not all are gift wrapped. And not all gifts cost money. Often the best gifts don’t come in ornate packages. Sometimes the best gifts aren’t even noticed right away. This can be especially true when we start thinking of the second definition ― particularly when it’s related to our own gifts and talents. Sometimes we try to ignore them, leaving them unwrapped.
But there is one thing that all gifts have in common: for a gift to be appreciated, we must receive it. If we don’t accept the gift and open (use) it, it’s not of any value to us. It’s wasted. Worthless. Unappreciated. And who wants that?
We want to generously give and enthusiastically receive. We want to tear into our gift packages and unwrap every gift we’re given. Every. Single. One. We want to value all gifts – presents and talents. In ourselves and others. We want to learn to better appreciate even the gifts that adversity brings. We want to value the experiences and lessons ― even in the mundane. We want to see the gift of beauty in a new day – and in a new and fresh way.
When we consider the gifts within us (our talents) and in the talents of those people around us, are we embracing them? Maximizing them? Or dismissing them because we were hoping for another gift? Are we unwrapping the full measure of our gifts? Or are we leaving the proverbial package sitting on the table, admiring the perfectly tied ribbons?
At this time of the year, there’s a focus on the wrapped gifts, but let’s think about the many opportunities we have to offer priceless gifts to those around us. The gift of a positive word. Of our presence. The gift of forgiveness. Of kindness. The gift of believing in someone. Of hope and a brighter future. Of a smile. Of generosity.
Here’s a little gift for you, our readers ― some of our favorite quotes on gifts.
- My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. ― Jim Valvano
- When you see life as a gift, you will embrace every aspect of your life, and learn to love and accept every part of you. ― Mary E McGovern
- The willingness to be present and available for another is an immeasurable gift. ― Christopher Chapman
- The joy of giving is greater than the joy of receiving. ― Proverb
- Everyone can experience the joy and blessing of generosity; because everyone has something to give. ― Jan Grace
- Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting. ― Brian Tracy
- Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. ― Jim Rohn
And we’ll put a bow on our blog with a few excerpts from Adam Grant’s Give and Take.
- Givers reject the notion that interdependence is weak. Givers are more likely to see interdependence as a source of strength, a way to harness the skills of multiple people for a greater good.
- But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. Taking is using other people solely for one’s own gain.
- Receiving is accepting help from others while maintaining a willingness to pay it back and forward.
- Generosity is not about putting others first. It’s about treating people better than they expect—and expecting nothing in return.
Thanks for giving us the gift of your time. We’d love to hear about your favorite gift – in the shape of a present or skill/talent.