I confess that I went to the mall this weekend during the height of holiday shopping. I knew it would be busy, but didn’t realize it would be so busy that it would take twenty minutes to find a parking spot. Once I got into the mall to look for my one item, I was mesmerized by the sea of people all looking for the perfect gifts, at perfect prices, for their special someones.
Giving is one of the Thirty-One Types of Happiness because it makes us happy when we give someone something that makes him or her happy. Christmas is a holiday that inspires everyone to give and that can make the world a wonderful place. Since we spend hours shopping online or in stores looking (and even stressing) for perfect gifts, I started wondering, “What is the perfect gift?”
Obviously, Santa always brings the perfect gift, and no one can compete with his magical insights.
But the rest of us also want to give the perfect gift to those we love too. Can we do it? The answer is yes. The perfect gift has nothing to do with anything that we can buy.
The perfect gift to give is actually as simple as loving our friends and family for the people they are right now. The key word is the people they are, not who we think they should be, or want them to be, but the people they are. Everyone wants to be loved “as is.”
Yet, ironically, we often practice more compassion for strangers than those closest to us. When you’re looking for the perfect gift this holiday season, open your heart and let those you love, know that you love them. That’s the best Christmas – or anytime – present you can give.
And, yes, we can love people even when we don’t like some of their actions. It may take some forgiveness, but we ultimately need to forgive for our own peace of mind anyway. It may take letting go of judging someone who didn’t do something the way we think they should have. It may take setting boundaries like limiting the amount of time we spend with someone. But loving someone just because is the perfect gift.
Material gifts are just the outward tokens of our love for our friends and family. But there isn’t a material gift that can replace the gift of spending time, laughing and making memories with loved ones. In fact, the most heartfelt gifts can be something as affordable as a handwritten note reminding someone of why you love them or a story about them that always makes you smile. It can be a book of quotes that you chose just for them. It can be the recipe for something you cook that’s one of their favorites. These are the gifts that people will remember long after a holiday because they come from the heart.
Often delivering gifts is simply the reason to see people we want to spend more time with. In some cases the gift is used to convey words we wish we could say but can’t. Even when we ship our gifts they usually create thank-you conversations that let us connect. The connection is the gift that people most want to give and receive.