The Issue of Gift-Giving

Like a lot of things in life, gifts are special for specific people and situations, but lose their significance when they become mandatory rather than an expression of natural sincerity (i.e. the month of December). No matter how much money we put down, the gift loses its essence and meaning. In fact, exorbitant gifts just become a tactic for covering up how little we know about the person. So we weren’t very attentive listeners this year, or very good judges of character, and we didn’t actually see much at all when we gazed around. The haphazardly chosen gift is blatant evidence for the fact that we didn’t pay any attention to the person receiving it.

If the stress of December’s mandatory gift giving has engulfed you, then let’s try approaching it from another angle. Let’s think about the most precious gifts we’ve received from others, for example. The gifts we still treasure, use lovingly, that anoint a smile every time we see them, or that take us on a journey of unforgettable memories when we remember them…The kind that’s rarely very expensive and rarely something we can find again in a store. The most precious things we’ve received from others are those that carry mutual remnants, and, most importantly, bring together mutual emotions, memories, and experiences.

This year, can we perceive the receivers of our gifts as people who we want to thank for existing in our lives? Because tomorrow they might be gone. They are precious now, in this moment, because they are with us. They are unmatched because they teach us something. They are special because we grew up, matured, and shared our hearts with them.

No matter how populous our Facebook friends list, I’m sure you’ve understood that I’m talking about another kind of friendship category. There are perhaps only three or five of them. Those friends that don’t care when you show up without bringing something. Because they already know how much you love them. The friends who love you as you are. This year, do you have a present for these friends that really comes from the heart? The kind that enchants us when we find it and makes our heart flutter from the impatience of finally giving it to them…

Here are some simple gift ideas:

*Delicious things we’ve made ourselves: a small jar of marmalade, cookies wrapped in beautiful gift wrap, a dessert made from their favorite ingredient, or if they’re food enthusiasts, a cooking class or wine tasting, a great recipe.

*Something with music: tickets to a concert you can both attend, a beginner’s class for an instrument they’ve always wanted to play, a special Spotify playlist, and if you’re up for it, a mix CD (respect to the mix tapes of the 90s!)

*Beauty products: lip cream prepared from of a few simple ingredients, natural deodorant or hair care oil mixtures, a massage treatment, manicure or pedicure at a beauty salon you really like.

*Something cultured: tickets for the cinema, theater, opera, or ballet that you can both attend, an invitation for an interesting gallery or museum exhibition, a dance event or class, a photography or culture tour, ticket to a comedy show, or an interesting workshop.

*Something handmade: a drawing you’ve made, a poem or song you’ve written, something you’ve knitted/sewed/dyed, a letter to boost morale for a friend in need, a book, an idea, or even another person that you think might help a friend’s problem…



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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