Giving gifts unconditionally is not necessarily simple. Gift giving can sometimes feel like a chore that makes us resentful. Other times we give gifts in order to get something in return, even if it is simply the gratitude from the recipient. Seen in this light, we are really giving to get what Daniel Goleman terms a narcissistic hit, something that isnt exactly motivated by altruism.
How can we learn to give gifts without strings attached when we are accustomed to feeling either a sense of duty, or we want gratitude from others in return? Unconditional gift-giving starts by sharing a piece of yourself – your love or esteem and care for the other person shown by the time taken to select a gift in a considerate manner, and combining this with not wanting anything at all in return.
Find a gift that means something about the other person to you.
Be proud of what you choose. Dont just buy something because it is in the bargain bin or because it was the most expensive item in the store. Put effort, care and consideration into the purchase or creation of the gift. Making the gift yourself is definitely an option too, and is even more a piece of you, so feel free to do so.
A gift prompted by persistent requests for it is not as exciting or fulfilling as a gift that is a total surprise. This does not mean that you cannot give things sorely needed by the recipient but how you will know this is by observing their life and knowing them, rather than heeding direct requests for items.
Stuff is all very nice and cute when wrapped up but stuff ends up drowning us. Sometimes, giving stuff is giving a burden to another person and the condition involved in such a gift is that the recipient puts up with shelving your stuff in their already over-crowded life. If you are gifting the person-who-has-everything, avoid stuff. Consider alternatives that wont oblige the condition of adding to clutter on the recipient, gifts such as:
A promise to visit monthly to take an elderly recipient to art galleries or botanical gardens;
A service – nappy (diaper) washing service, house-cleaning service, car-wash etc.
Plants for the garden that will produce food, scent, colour or shade
A voucher for a massage, spa treatment, fitness class
Think carefully about what the other person would not buy for themselves.
If you give items that a person is already very adept at getting for themselves, muzzling in on this territory can be a means of invading it and substituting their sense of style with yours. Dont even bother; if you know the person well, you will know already what they do well enough without your help. Look instead for the things theyd never consider purchasing – like the red shoes with really high heels you overheard them pondering about but muttered that they couldnt afford, a trip to a spa resort that they would never think to slow down for normally, or a new food that is something theyve never tried before etc.
Let the recipient know gently and without great hoo-ha that your gift can be returned to a store, re-gifted, or donated if it doesnt make them feel comfortable or happy.
You do not want to create a noose around their necks. If you ever had an experience growing up when someone in your family gave your family something hideous and it was ferreted out each time this person visited, you will know that the sense of obligation can turn gift-receiving into a burden rather than a delight.
Avoid giving useful items that the whole household needs and will make use of.
The toaster for mother on Mothers Day, the car-cleaning gear for dad… These things do service for everyone and are not gifts in the usual sense. An exception would be if you give something like the car-cleaning gear, include with it coupons the recipient can cash in to you to wash and wax the car for them. Otherwise, if you must produce such items as gifts, gift them to the house, the car, or the family as a whole. These sorts of items are just too impersonal to be true gifts and this makes them conditional–you are giving something provided that everyone else gets to use it.
You are giving because you want to. If you dont want to, then you need to reassess the point of what it is that you are really doing. Do not expect gratitude, smiles or something in return. Although most respectful and well-mannered people will demonstrate gratitude, there are times where this will not be forthcoming for one reason or other but that does not necessarily mean that the person doesnt respect your gift-giving or not appreciate it. Sometimes people are embarrassed, too surprised, shy, ashamed, or self-conscious to react in a gracious manner. If you have given with good heart, their reaction or lack of one should not bother you. Look deeper and you will see truly how the gift has been received.
Wrapping and presenting the gift will show your sense of style and also that you have taken care to present your gift nicely, a demonstration of respect for the recipient. It doesnt have to be complex, and recyclability is
What do I do if my client gave me an expensive gift? I am a counselor.
If your client gave you an expensive gift, you can either gently refuse and give it back, if you think it was too much, or you can accept it and give them something in return. It does not have to be something of equal value. Maybe your client just wanted to show you their appreciation for a job well done!
Im doing a project and we are going to the elderly ward in the hospital. I dont know anyone there, but I wanted to take a nice gift. What could I give that is a unisex gift?
Here are some suggestions for gifts for people on an geriatric ward: photo frames, luxury food items, plants (not flowers), mugs, jigsaw puzzles, general interest coffee table books (wildlife, geography, history topics, etc.), fleece blankets and talking books.
What do I do if someone does not react the way I expect when giving a gift?
If you are giving your gift unconditionally, the reaction should not matter; you should not expect any reaction when giving unconditionally. If your gift gets a negative reaction, ask what you can do to put things right. If the gift gets a more positive reaction than you were expecting, there is no problem. If the person is ungrateful, ambivalent or otherwise, then you have to handle their response without reaction.
How do I give one friend a gift without my other friend realizing?
Unless the two friends are close, there really shouldnt be any difficulty. Your friendship should have no behind-the-back treading, so just relax. Unless both friends gave you gifts, you really shouldnt be in dire need of hiding a gift.
If I am invited to a birthday party (in another state) and I cannot attend, do I still send a gift?
No. You can send a birthday card if youd like.
How does the person that you give a gift card to know the amount of the card if the amount is not on the card?
They can always find out by calling the number or visiting the website indicated on the back of the card. But to save them the hassle, its generally advisable to make it clear to begin with. Most gift cards come with a little card/gift card holder that has the amount printed on it or has a space for you to write in the amount thats on the card.
If both the gift-giver and the recipient are well-versed in civil interactions, the giving of gifts unconditionally will go very smoothly; the giver will give without expecting anything back and the recipient will show appreciation without prompting. Thats an ideal world and mitigating factors always intervene, so always be generous in your interpretation of the recipients reaction. Maybe not today, but some day down the track, you might learn that your act of selfless generosity and kindness turned that persons life around.
to discover something about selfless giving and the power of love over possessions.
The ultimate unconditional gift is the anonymous gift.
Try giving gifts on a random day. It goes a lon
g way to show that you do not expect something back if you give a gift for no reason.
Gift wrapping paper (and other presentation effects)
Categories:Featured ArticlesGift GivingCelebrating Holidays Mindfully
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