Right after Thanksgiving, the topic of giving becomes extra prominent in American culture. Commercials are suddenly all about giving gifts. Stores everywhere are posting signs and decorations claiming that they have just the gift you're looking for. While I have to say that the consumerism of the holiday season does overwhelm me at times, I do love the idea of giving gifts. Cliche as it sounds, the thought really does count and it's so wonderful to see someone open a gift you've taken the time to pick out, purchase, and wrap. Giving is one of those things that makes me feel really happy, really positive, and I'm really looking forward to the season of giving this year -- both in a tangible, gift-wrapped sense and in the abstract way we all give to one another without even realize it.
Just think about how much you give on a daily basis -- your time, your love, your attention, your thoughts, your words -- and you'll be amazed. Giving gifts is wonderful, but there's a lot more to giving than just gifts. It's something we all do, all the time, without even realizing it. Just right now I'm giving of myself by writing this post. Right now you're giving of yourself by reading this post. We're all giving (and taking!) without even realizing it, which is one of the reasons giving is so magical. It's something that takes on a life of its own without most of us even realizing what an impact it has on our everyday lives. This year, while I'm sure I'll still be giving lots and lots of gifts, I also want to think about just how magical giving can be and how I can give more of myself to others.
The Magic of Giving
Gift giving is truly magic. It's something we can all do and it doesn't necessarily require money. The more I've thought about gift giving lately (and who isn't thinking about it a lot at this time of year?!), the more I've realized just how much giving gifts helps me to stay positive and to stay present. For as long as I can remember, giving has been something that has excited me. Yes, at times it's stressed me out too (I can picture myself standing in the middle of the mall frantically thinking, "What in the world am going to get her?!?"), but for the most part, giving really does bring me a lot of happiness. I love spending time thinking about what someone else might like. Because of this, I find that I am more alert when the people close to me are speaking. I'm always listening for clues, wondering if their words could somehow be transformed into the perfect gift. For this reason, gift giving actually helps me to stay present, to stay focused on the moment and what others are saying.
Gift giving keeps me present -- tuned into what those around me are saying and wanting -- and it also keeps me positive. Giving gifts makes me feel great because it makes other people feel great. Of course it's awesome to make yourself feel good, but there's nothing quite making someone else smile, is there? And that's what gifts are symbolic of -- that sharing of a good feeling. It's pretty awesome, really, that we can pick something out, give that something to someone else, and see how happy it makes that person. It may seem materialistic and unnecessary to some, but the act of giving gifts really means a lot to me. It's something that shows others that you care, that you're thinking of them, and, most importantly, that what they like and care about matters to you.
That being said, I realize that it's not just about gifts, is it? I was sitting here, struggling to think of how I could write about gift giving without it coming out entirely cliche, and a book on my shelf caught my eye. I reached over and brought it to my desk, cracking it open to today's date. Oddly enough, the passage in Courage To Change read: "If I so choose I can regard everything that happens in my life as a gift from which I can learn and grow." Just seeing the word "gift" made me smile because I realized that I didn't need to write a lengthy post on how giving is great and how we should give more of ourselves. All I needed to do was realize that life -- and everything in it -- is a gift. Life really is a gift and all of the things we experience in it are amazing. We have the ability to share our experiences, our gifts, with others as well. We can do this through the actual telling of what we've experience or we can do this through more subtle ways, such as a smile or a hug. We have the ability to share our talents as gifts by doing what we're good at and sharing it with the world.
Around this time of year the act of giving really becomes a focus, but we all know that material things aren't always the kinds of gifts others need to receive. Giving doesn't all have to do with a pretty bow and a perfect package. There are so many ways we can give to others... countless ways, in fact! The holiday season really brings gift-giving to mind, but today I want to think about it in a different way. I want to think about it as something I can do by just being me. We all can give just by being who we are. Giving is such a wonderful thing and there are so many ways to give. We don't need to shop or wrap or stress (though I'm sure we will do a lot of those things). We just to be. That alone is a gift in and of itself and it really is pure magic. I'd love to hear about how you've experienced the magic of giving in your own life so tell me...
What's the best thing you've been given?
What is the best thing you've given someone else?
(Answer either of these and follow the rules below and you could have a chance to WIN!)
Since today I wrote about giving, I thought it would be a great day to have my very first giveaway on Positively Present. The other day I came across this amazing site -- Vol 25 -- and I'm so pleased that the creator, Jessica, agreed to give away a print to one lucky reader today. Jessica's work is amazing and it's such a honor to be able to highlight her awesome talent on Positively Present. Jessica describes herself as "a completely self-taught artist, constantly inspired by every day moments." She is a mother to a very dramatic five-year-old princess and she also has a seventeen-month-old daughter who she more accurately describes as a monkey. She married her husband and best friend (aww!) six years ago. With each piece of art she creates, it is her hope that it will give at least one person the warm fuzzies. Jessica told me that a heartfelt customer testimonial is just about the greatest payment you can receive. Want to enter for a chance to win any $20 print from Vol 25? Here are the rules...
Leave a comment below with the following information:
- Tell me what's the best thing you've given or been given
- Let me know which print you like best (see Vol 25's website for all $20 prints)
- Include your email address so I can contact you if you win
Leave an extra comment for each of the following things you do:
Remember, the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win, so make sure to leave extra comments if you do any of the things listed below! The winner will be picked at random on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 and will be announced on Friday, December 4, 2009. Don't forget to leave your email in your comments so I can contact the winner!