What makes you happiest, giving a gift that is received with excitement and real emotion or receiving a gift with excitement and real emotion?

I find that a tough question because both make me happy.

During this season, the most popular gift giving and receiving time of the year, I must say my goal is not to receive lots of gifts, but rather to spend lots of time thinking about each person to whom I am giving a gift. And I'll tell you why in a moment.

I hear many people complaining about Christmas. That it has become so commercial and if the retail sector doesn't do well during this season our economy suffers and businesses flounder. How sad that it has come to this.

Other complaints centre around 'lack of time' to fit all this into already overcrowded schedules, 'spending money you don't have', 'the assumed expectancies of gift receivers', 'can't make decisions of what to buy', etc. Again, how sad it has come to this.

Why not try something different this year.

Instead of bemoaning the lack of time, choose a segment of time to sit down with a favourite, comforting warm beverage (tea, hot chocolate, special coffee), play a favourite CD of calming music, make sure you are alone. This is your time to be comfortable and treat yourself.

With you is your list of loved ones and friends to whom you wish to give a gift. If you haven't already, spend some time to budget what is a 'comfortable' amount to spend on gifts and make a firm decision not to budge from it! That's why it is called a "BUDGET". Yes, keeping your sense of humour is mandatory in this exercise.

Now, here's where things are going to be different for you. Think of the first person on your list. Really think about them. Who are they to you? What about them do you like/admire/love? If you were to say to them "The gift I see in you is.....", what would you say? What you are doing is attempting to look through the personality of this person and see into their 'essence' or soul. What would be something that you could give them that would recognize the soul of this person?

Perhaps this person is very charitable, a volunteer, and helping others is high priority for them. Maybe a donation in their name to their favourite charity or non-profit organization would make them very happy. The fact that you recognize this part of them would deepen their happiness further.

Another person may have a particular talent in which they love to indulge. ie: gardening, cooking, writing, design, sense of humour, car racing, sewing, singing, dancing, etc. etc. You can sense if this comes from their soul. Sticking within your budget you can come up with many ways to recognize this essence from tickets to performances, classes, books, a letter telling them of a time their talent touched you deeply/helped you, a gift certificate, etc.

You may have someone on your list who is in great need physically, mentally or emotionally. A card with a note asking, "What can I do for you? How can I contribute to your happiness/safety/health?" Don't let them get away with saying 'nothing'!

One of the greatest needs of all human beings is 'recognition' and if your gift recognizes a deep part of them, then your gift is a true winner, no matter the price tag.

Once you have done this with every person on your list, your shopping becomes such an enjoyable experience. You can likely do much of it online and not even leave your house. Phone ahead to retail outlets and ask if items are in stock before you venture out into the crowds and weather.
Let's turn now to the act of receiving. No matter what a gift is, the monetary value of the gift, who it is from, or their reason for choosing it, it is a GIFT. You have been honoured by the giver. Your manner of receiving can be a gift from you to them. It may not be an item you particularly like or want in which case you can pass it on as a donation somewhere because someone will like or want it. The point is, you can receive any gift with real emotion if you focus on the 'intent' of the giver and not the gift itself. This is what you thank them for.

I've heard people put down/laugh at (derisively) a gift for what it is or its lack of perceived value or use. It's happened to me and it hurts. Rise above and promise yourself never to indulge in this behaviour yourself.

The act of gift exchanging is actually a recognition of the soul of the person who is receiving a gift and the manner in which they receive is a recognition of the soul of the giver. Eastern countries have always known this. We lost it along the way. Perhaps we can bring it back, one gift giver at a time.

You can bring much happiness into your life when you turn to "Soul Giving" and "Soul Receiving". Why not give it try this year?

Make it a goal.

© Clear Goals Coaching, Lynn Moore 2008

Author's Bio: 

Lynn Moore is a Life Clarity Coach whose specialized niche is helping the Family Woman in Business to set and achieve her goals successfully. Lynn has a unique ability to see the bottom line and see it quickly helping you find your hidden solutions. She is an encouraging, straight talking coach, full of heart and humour with only the best outcome in mind for her clients. Lynn can be reached at lynn@cleargoalscoaching.com and you can visit her web site ClearGoalsCoaching.com.