The holidays are stressful enough
so why complicate the season?
Let a heartfelt “Thank You” be enough. For example when we receive gifts from someone that we did not buy a gift for, suddenly up pops some hidden scale or scorecard and we begin to stress or panic. But that is just total nonsense because we do not have to match every gift with something in return. It’s not a gift exchange. It’s not a competition and life isn’t fair… and in this case that is totally okay.
When did this tit for tat mentality become attached to the generosity of the season? Aren’t the holidays about giving – not receiving? And isn’t it the thought that counts? If all of those tried and true sayings are valid, then why do we feel bad when someone hands us a gift?
It shouldn’t be uncomfortable to receive a present!
I know I talked about giving and receiving kindness in my last post but this is a follow up because the message is that important. There is joy in giving and most people give because they like the person, want to show appreciation, or simply because you matter to them. So why do we allow our thoughts to stray and become focused on what we must give in return, instead of simply giving the kindness the attention it deserves.
“I wish they didn’t get me anything because I didn’t get them anything.” or “Why did they spend that much on me because I just can’t afford to give them much in return.” Again life is not fair so stop keeping score. Besides if you have any of these kind of thoughts in your head then your brain in being distracted and that probably means you are not focusing on the thoughtfulness that is right in front of you. So get a grip and stay in the moment to acknowledge the time, effort and thoughtfulness that is all part of the giving process. Look the person straight in the eye and let a heartfelt “Thank You” be enough.
Oh and one more thing. Please don’t say things like, “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “Thanks, but that wasn’t necessary.” Of course it wasn’t necessary! Most of the time people do nice things because they want to, not because they have to. And someone once pointed out to me that people will go to the ends of the Earth for nothing more than a smile. A small but powerful symbol that sends the message that their generosity has meaning.
Maybe it’s time to bring back your childhood schooling and remember that it truly is the thought that counts. See the love behind what is being offered and don’t feel bad about receiving gifts from other people. A response of true gratitude is a gift in itself. Accept the item without the guilt. Welcome, receive, and appreciate the generosity people choose to give.
A quote from A White Hat and Rose Colored Glasses
“Let a heartfelt thank you be enough”
This Life Less Quote comes from the chapter on Gratitude in Susan’s book “A White Hat and Rose Colored Glasses.”