We were standing in the office break room talking about how best to thank our team-members. Someone raised the idea of a Christmas card with a picture of our staff on the front. On the back would be a pre-printed message with space for staff members to add their own messages.
With over 20 team-members to thank, one would assume I would be in favor of a generic message. It would save time from hand-scribing each note.
A staff member asked why I didn’t want the pre-printed message. I responded, “because my love language is giving and receiving of personalized gifts. It doesn’t matter how much they cost. I’d be happy with a coupon that someone found to my favorite ice cream store.”
As I was about to leave for the day I walked into my office and on my desk was a thank you postcard. It was complete with a picture of our staff on one side and a hand written note on the other side. On the upper right of the card were three chocolate kisses. It was from that very same staff member. It made my week.
The Craziness of Christmas Gifts
There is no shortage on articles written about the excess of Christmas. Many suggest that gifts blind us from the true meaning of Christmas. Personally, I can’t escape this thought: can’t giving personalized and extravagant gifts co-exist with celebrating Christ’s birth?
At the first Christmas there were many gifts given. Joseph and Mary were given a free night at the inn. Though their stable was unclean and undesirable, it was a gift that was given freely. We then read the accounts of the wise men arriving and giving three extravagant gifts to Christ. Lastly, Christ himself, was a gift. So why do we beat up on giving gifts at Christmas?
Each gift was given in abundance and without condition. It was a love offering of each giver to a recipient.
Taking the AK-47 to Christmas Gifts
This assault on giving gifts at Christmas leaves me feeling as though my love language is illegitimate or self-centered. Likewise, my passion to give personalized gifts is viewed as over the top or unnecessary.
Society is in love with the idea of downplaying excess but each will pick and choose when, where and how they will respond to their affinity for the thought of ‘less.’ Naturally, Christmas is an easy target.
One Size Fits All Solutions
It’s understandable that culture tends to drift towards polarized solutions. One-size-fits-all solutions are easy to gravitate toward because they don’t require work or thought. If you can rally a group of loud people around any cause you can accomplish nearly anything.
[Tweet “A one-size-fits-all solution is a lazy way of dealing with the root cause of a problem.”]
One-size-fits-all solutions do not respect the individual. They never will. They are a lazy way of dealing with the root cause of a problem.
My Proposed Solution
Doing with less at Christmas sounds good in theory, but when you begin matching faces with outcomes, the need for a true solution becomes clear. In essence you are asking how will this solution affect this person. You are respecting their unique needs.
I propose that as you consider your giving, allow it to become personalized. Do not buy for the sake of buying. Do not insist on spending the same amount on every gift (no one knows what you bought on sale!). Do not strive to meet every request, but rather, strive to meet the request that means the most.
In short: be human and respect the unique humanity of others.
This Christmas Next Christmas
I hope that you had an amazing Christmas. I hope that you got some of what you had asked for. Most of all, I hope you felt the love that compelled your parents, siblings, relatives and friends to give generously to you.
It is this love that is a mirrored reflection of the love that was displayed on that first Christmas. It is the love that is displayed in every hand written Christmas card you receive.
[Tweet “Don’t go with the flow of society. March to the beat of generosity through respect.”]
I hope that you will consider the humanity of others as the next Christmas approaches. Don’t go with the flow of society, church, or tradition… march to the beat of generosity through respect. (Pa rum pum pum pum).