What is a true gift?
I’ve written about good gifts before – in an old entry – and felt like it was just when people gave you things that were unique and memorable for you.
For me, that means someone that bought me licorice in memory of our “licorice runs” at college or wrapped my favorite cereal in a box for my birthday. These were cheap gifts, but they had meaning based upon experiences that I had had with the giver. Or, when my sister drew a poster with the letters of my name intertwined with quotes from me, drawings of things I liked and representations of my talents. Those are the gifts that I keep for a very long time.
After reading Seth Godin’s blog entry – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/06/gifts-misunderstood.html – about gifts ( and excerpts from “The Little Big Things” by Tom Peters, as well as excerpts from the Bible), I am realizing the true power of giving a true gift. And, I am realizing it through reading marketing and sales gurus. Who would have thought it?
As Seth points out, there is a difference between favors, presents, and freebies. Gift certificates, automatic card writing services, and catalog shipments just may not cut it.
Gifts require us to give of ourselves. Or, in other words, to sacrifice.
To quote part of the Seth post:
“The way I understand gifts is that the giver must make a sacrifice, create an uneven exchange, bring himself closer to the recipient, create change and do it all with the right spirit. To do anything less might be smart commerce, but it doesn’t rise to the magical level of the gift. A day’s work for a day’s pay is the win/lose mantra of the industrial era. More modern is to view a day’s work as a chance to generate gifts that last.”
How beautiful is this thought!
I’ve implemented a few “gifts from the heart” lately, and in doing so am realizing the true power that comes from giving more than mediocre remnants of our being.
It sometimes hurts to give of oneself, especially if it means you will feel the “pinch” in some way. Yet, these “gifts of the heart” also seem to open up the heart for greater possibilities of friendship, success and character.
This reminds me, I got a card the other day. The friend, not known for great handwriting, had etched in pencil what he wanted to write first and then went back over it in pen. He wanted it to look nice and painstakingly (for him) created that little draft right there on parts of the card.
It was little, but it was a true gift.