We can all remember what Christmas meant to us as a kid. I remember how the night of Christmas Eve always passed so ridiculously slowly. The second hand used to tick that little bit louder as if to remind you of every second that was passing. I loved pretending to be asleep as my parents dropped the presents at the bottom of my bed, waiting for a few long minutes until it was safe and then putting on my bedside light to explore the strange shapes of wrapped parcels. That sick feeling of excitement in my stomach as I longed for it to be early enough to ‘wake my parents’ and open my presents. I used to LOVE Christmas, because I got things. New things. I was spoiled rotten and I loved it.
Things Began to Change
My mum always told me that true happiness could be found in giving presents and not receiving them. While I understood that this was polite and probably the right thing to do; I couldn’t comprehend why giving away something (i.e. spending my pocket money on others) could possibly feel better than receiving something (See I was a tight ******* from the beginning). I thought I would spend a lifetime pretending that I liked giving presents and hiding the fact that I grudged it hugely and even used to work out who came out of the whole ‘giving situation’ on top with my brother and sister.
As I started to grow up, I began to realise that my mum was right. When I actually took the time to pick thoughtful presents for my loved ones, I started to enjoy their reactions. I began to realise that my research and kindness was appreciated. I found the joy in appreciating others reactions and feelings.
And Then they Changed Again
The warm sensation of giving continued to grow throughout my teenage years. I would like to think that I started to become quite a selfless person – spending money on others was no longer a grudge and I became less interested in receiving gifts. As I moved away from home, I realised thateven better than giving presents was giving time.I started to recognise how important and amazing spending time my loved ones is. The smiles got bigger and the greetings warmer. I finally understood how important bonding with family and friends is.
Not to confuse presents with the present, I now find myself with a different attitude towards giving. I am still as generous as ever and will still spoil my loved ones, but I no longer buy things for the sake of buying things.Gone are the days of trying to hit spending targets and trying to match what others might give me. I go for experiences that we all can share, or only buy people gifts when I find something special like music memorabilia for a big music fan friend. Last Christmas, this varied from a pair of UGG boots to an iPad and a Kindle to an L.E.D. bar sign. My point is that while the monetary value of the gifts that we gave varied dramatically, the thought behind each one did not. These however were only material presents, my time and company was the real gift (in a non-arrogant way).
As Mrs Scot and I spend the coming weekend Christmas shopping, this year will be no different. While we are ready to spend money selflessly on our loved ones, we will be selecting presents that are both special and meaningful to the recipients. Saving money tips will still be important as we will still use vouchers and coupons where possible, but with much less importance than in our weekly grocery shop. We will also spend our time wrapping these gifts and decorating them, while writing out personal messages; all before hand-delivering them and giving something real: Our company. Our Christmas will be filled with the company of others; sharing food, drinks, board games and sharing laughs.
What is your attitude towards Giving and what will you be doing this Christmas?