Gift giving is a long time tradition in most of our lives. Now can be a good time to reflect on those gifts that have meant most to us and determine what kind of gift giver we want to be going forward – with family and friends, at work, and in life in general. Tune in to hear about some of my favorite gifts over the years. They weren’t what I expected.
Episode 25 Show Notes
A few of the gift mentions in the episode:
- The thumbnail picture of gifts for this episode was gifted to me by photographer Alisha Leigh. Check out other photography she creates at Always Chasing the Light – https://www.alwayschasingthelight.com/?fbclid=IwAR2i10LNtyJlNj5W3GHXob8mItYfenq_24xFQcsIP_jCsMPkZDeddSadVSI
- Book share and shout out on LinkedIn from Jaime – So Unbecoming with Jamie Muskopf (podcast) – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/so-unbecoming-with-jamie-muskopf/id1448213615
- Poster – a sample of the handmade/personalized poster my sister created for me when I was at college.
- Blackberry Case – my sister-in-law created this just for my blackberry phone. And, I found two rabbits my friend Ann sewed for me before her trip to Europe. And, proceeded to position “rabbit” all over Europe in pictures for me. Yes, we were adults at the time of all of this fun.
Episode 25 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 25 Gift Giving This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Recently, a young woman named Alison went on a trip with her family, and it was purely for enjoyment. And when she was on her trip, she apparently wasn’t just thinking about herself and her own fun experience. She was searching for something in many stores, and her mother, Courtney, told me that she was adamant about trying to find a special gift for my son.
Isn’t that cool? This is someone that’s about to go off to college and they’re on a trip and they’re thinking about gifts for people that are not on the trip with them. And she knows what some of his likes are. And she purchased him this great gift, and it has to do with cars. Has some of you know, if you’ve listened to Episode five on this? Siri’s Alison came over to our home with her family and shared this gift, and that’s where I heard the effort that she took to find this gift for my son and he loves the gift.
And he held part of the gift the whole day after that and we talked about it and I said, You know what? This young woman was thinking about you when she was on vacation, and she really wanted you to get a gift that you loved because where she waas was a place where she could get that particular gift for him and he said, Oh, that’s really nice of her. She’s a nice person. I’m glad she gave me this gift and he wants to make her a card, of course, to thank her.
Now it’s December, and this is a time of year where a lot of us have a heightened sense of gift giving at times a feeling of obligation to give gifts. At other times, we just I want to give a really good gift to someone we love or we care about or have a good friendship with. And I felt like that particular moment we had a few weeks ago was a wonderful example of great gift giving of someone being somewhere else in a place that has so many fun things and realizing that someone that wasn’t there would benefit from a gift from that place and spending time looking and searching and finding this perfect gift for this person and then to have the person that received the gift truly receive it and love it and find joy and thinking about the person that gave them that gift.
I especially thought it was a wonderful example because this is a gift coming from one of the youth of today and to show that this is for all ages and experiences, that we all have the capability to provide these kinds of gifts to others. Now my son is in this place where he’s learning a lot about gifts. He is very excited to give us gifts, and of course he’ll make them. And the gift that he has made for each of us is pretty much stealing bows, putting them in a bag and then putting another bow on the top.
And that’s our gift. And those are under the tree in a couple of boxes and bags. And he’s so excited that he has created these gifts for us. And yet when he gets mad at us. He threatens to take away this gift. E Cosi pulls them out from under the tree and he takes them back. And that kind of teaches us about gift giving. I think a little bit, because if we’re truly giving a gift of ourselves, it’s not about how the other person reacts, and it’s not about taking it back.
If they don’t like it, were truly taking a chance, too. Give something of ourselves without any business of knowing if the person will actually receive it and love it and be grateful for it. And I love a quote from Seth Godin about gift giving, actually has quite a few quotes about gift giving. But one of them is Your generosity is more important than your perfection, and that it’s certainly at work there with the bows that air put in empty boxes that we will be receiving for Christmas.
But he also talks about this in the sense of what work we offer up to the world and says, 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 off the gift. A day’s work for a day’s pay is the wind lose mantra of the industrial era. More modern is to view a day’s work as a chance to generate gifts that lasts.
I’ve loved that quote ever since I first read it because it talks about how giving a real gift can be hard sometimes and you can feel the pinch, not just from a money perspective, but some people take a lot of time to create just the right gift. Or maybe it requires you offering up something of yourself that you’re not sure you want to offer up yet or is scary because you’re not sure if it will be accepted. And so when we start to understand true gift giving, we start to realize that we want to offer up our best.
It has nothing to do with the person on the other end. Ultimately, it has to do with how we feel about it and why we’re doing it. And this is something that I’ve thought about a lot when we have something locally called Gifts of the Heart, where people bring extra stuff from home and they kind of put it in this gymnasium and other people can rummage through it and choose it if they’d like and everybody’s making contributions and some people are taking things from it, and I don’t know that anything costs anything.
But it’s a chance really to bring stuff that you’re not going to use. And hopefully it’s someone else’s treasure, and the title of it always bothered me. I’ve gotten over it and it probably bothered me because I’m not someone who goes to thrift stores except to donate, and I don’t look for garage sales or anything. So I’m very purposeful when I go buy something and I don’t want to spend any time on it at all, and that represents a lot of time to me going rummaging. But other people absolutely love it.
But I guess what bothered me about the title is it says gifts of the heart when it really felt to me like it’s gifts from your reject pile, right? You’re not taking your best stuff to this place. You’re taking things you’ve decided you can do without now, Sometimes you’re taking it because it’s a wonderful item that you can do without. But you know, someone else will greatly benefit from it because it’s just so great. But it’s just not your deal, and that’s okay. But thinking through that process made me realize that I have some work to do on my gift giving.
I am like a crazy stock market. Sometimes I feel like I’m giving a great gift that I absolutely am excited to give someone, and other times I feel like I’m operating kind of from an assembly line. Okay, let let me go check this off. I’m sending these gifts, and it’s not with the same amount of energy and love as it could be. And that goes for giving physical gifts or giving gifts of time or giving gifts of giving your best work. All of these things, and I think all of us are a combination of different energies in this respect.
I did want to make sure that I referenced a very powerful story. That is a story that was written by O. Henry years ago, and it’s the gift of the Madge I, and if you haven’t read it I suggest you read it. It’s a very quick read, but talks about this very poor young couple that doesn’t have any money for Christmas. And they have very few assets. It sounds like they live in an apartment or a small house or something, a very little that they could even use besides money to try to give each other gifts.
The man has this amazing watch from his grandfather, and it does not have a chain, and he would always love to have this wonderful chain for this watch. They could wear it and use it, not just leave it on the shelf. Hiss Wife has beautiful long hair. He just loves her hair. She takes great care of her hair. And these are the most prized possessions of these two people. This hair and this watch. And for Christmas they both think of each other and wonder what they could.
D’oh Thio get each other something of value. It turns out that the woman decides to have her care cut and sold so she can obtain enough cash to purchase a chain for his watch. And he sells the watch so that he can purchase the special Combs that she has been admiring in a store window, and it shows that they both gave all in hopes that their gift would be highly valued by their spouse. And it’s a wonderful story that highlights the epitome of gift giving, right. You give something you love and cherish, but you give it, hoping that it will bring great happiness to someone else in your life.
And I think most of us don’t get to that level of gift giving most of the time. But it’s certainly something noble to seek after. Still, I wanted to take a chance today to share some of the gifts that I have noticed in my life that have meant the most to me. And when I sat and reflected on this over the last couple weeks, I realized that none of the gifts are what I initially thought I would choose. When people ask me what things I appreciate, I usually say, you know what?
I love my laptop, my tablet and my phone and my camera, and that is because with these things, I’m able to communicate and create. And so I absolutely love thes things. I’m also aware that none of them are special until I get my hands on them right. They’re all mass produced, and I could easily replace them. So what’s even more valuable on them are the photos and the other files. But I need the active computer portion and the camera portions in order to create those files that I love.
But those aren’t on my list, and maybe that’s assumed because I have some of my basic needs taken care of. But one of my goals in sharing these gifts with you is to hopefully spur an interest in your heart and mind to take stock of what gifts you’ve been given and what gifts you’ve given. And think about what you want those to be going forward because right now we’re in an amazing place in the world where we have an opportunity to create so many different kinds of gifts for the people we care about.
Okay, so first of all, I had a great example of gift giving this morning when I woke up and looked at lengthen and saw that Jamie Must Cop that has the podcast so unbecoming had posted a picture of herself holding my book and saying she really enjoyed it. This was a gift to be able to see that someone had taken the time to read something I’d written and had gotten a nugget or two from it, that they’re going to apply to their life. That’s made my whole week seeing one person making a public comment about that and a private comment.
That’s a gift. Years ago, one of my sisters sent me a gift at college. I believe it was this poster and it wasn’t a normal poster. It was about eight and 1/2 inches wide or so the same sizes, regular paper. Except it was this long scrolling paper, and it had my name down it in large letters. So it had Rebecca and then surrounding my name was artwork going down the page of different quotes, I said, or different books I loved or different things I liked to do and it’s a work of art.
I kept it. I loved it. In fact, I found it again when I was going through files this past week, just the thought that went into it. And it reminds me when I look at it, who I was at that point in life. It had a lot of meaning. I had another sister who sent me a letter in the mail a few years ago and is a very thick letter and like, what is this? And she had written down five or six pages of wardrobe tips on what kinds of clothes would be good for my body.
What kind of neck lines, what kind of image that I would want to portray kinds of hairstyles that rewrite for my face. And she cut out pictures from catalogues to show me now. Clearly, she and I both know that I needed some help in that area and I was working on it. But I’ve never made that a huge priority, and I still have that letter and all those cutouts. And what’s fascinating to me is to see how many clothes I own from the pictures I see in that, and I I honestly don’t remember if I owned some of them before it or after it, or like, right at the same time frame like I was in the same mindset.
But what a beautiful thing. She took the time to write all of this out and send it to me in a very loving way. Another gift has been from multiple people in my life who I regularly talked to. But they’re the people always share with me. Great resource is and books. So are saying, Hey, if you listen to this podcast, have you watched this video? Do you follow this blogged? I think you’d love this book, these kind of people. And I think I’ve mentioned a few of them before.
Like Deborah and Anthony and Dizzy and Christopher. They’re constantly seeking out how to improve and change. And they’re loving the process of sharing those resource is with others in their lives. One of the gifts I absolutely cherish is the gift of two front teeth I’ve mentioned before. I fell on them right when I got permanent teeth. So this is a nice eight or nine years old. I went through many trials with thes teeth as a youth because they looked very gray and they were different colors and you had to wait for them to completely grow out.
And then there’s root canals and all this stuff. I never quite had teeth that matched, and I came home from college one year and Santa had gifted me with my parents two front teeth. So I went to the doctor and got two front teeth that matched my teeth. And I still have those two front teeth knock on wood or cross my fingers. Very grateful for that gift, because that was the point where I started feeling more comfortable opening my mouth to smile. I would always smile with my mouth shut, and I should find some of my grade school, junior high and high school pictures to show that how very difficult it was for me to open my mouth and smile.
And I did not start doing that until after I had those front teeth. So it’s a very special gift to me. Other gifts have been when a sibling or a friend includes in a note to me something they’ve drawn their personal artwork that they’ve drawn and given to me or a gift that they have made quilts from Shirley and Pam and Harrison for my son. These were all handmade, and I have other friends that made blankets for him, and I’ve kept them all, and I’ve kept them nice, and I know who gave each blanket I have a little paragraph about each person that gave one so that my son will know and understand who did this for him.
I found when I was ravaging through things this past week the special little turquoise knitted pouch. I guess I could call. It’s the size of a BlackBerry, a BlackBerry phone in case some people thought it’s a fruit because we haven’t seen very many blackberries lately. But my sister in law, Jessica, made this specially for my BlackBerry, and what was really need is a few days before Christmas we’re driving around frantically to find a yarn store, and she found her yarn. And then she’s looking for a special button for this BlackBerry case, and I got to be there to help choose the special button for the BlackBerry case and how need to be part of that experience and see the time and care that went into making sure that I had a special button for this gift that was going to be given to me and to see how much time and care that, of course, in the digital space, the opportunity to give gifts is rampant because giving gifts are things like the shout out I received on Lincoln and liking some post and putting a comment on it for one of your friends or someone that’s doing good work or re sharing their work with others.
Writing a review for someone’s book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble wherever it offered, and spreading the good work that people are doing online. Those air gifts and it’s wonderful when their unsolicited to when you show up and you just see that someone has done that for you. It’s an amazing feeling. I didn’t take money, but it took time and thought, and so I’d encourage you at this time of year to think back on these special gifts. I know Ah, lot of these gifts were things that people created for me or allowed me to improve something in my life as a result of receiving that gift.
But of course, other gifts are in moments where you sincerely share something with someone I know some of the most special moments in my life recently are things that were completely unplanned. At least it didn’t seem like their plan because I know the first time my son hugged my leg and said, Mommy, it was so overpowering to me because that meant so many things at once. I’m like, Wait, He knows I’m his mommy. He’s hugging my leg. He’s seeking out to be with me at this moment.
And another cute moment that was a gift was the first time he whispered in my ear, and I didn’t even know that would be something that I would consider a gift, because I had never thought that I’d feel that way if someone whispered in my ear. But when he pulled me aside and did a little whisper in my ear, and all it was was because obviously he had had some experience at school or something where they were practicing this and there were no words, but it was extra special.
It was a gift, thes air, all little moments, and it it really did surprise me when I took a few reflective moments to think about what my greatest gifts were over the years. What came to mind were a lot of little homemade things that represented the people were thinking about me or they were those little statements online or those little thank you notes or those representation Sze that someone really knew me in fact, in college and after it was so fun to receive a bag of licorice in the mail or a box of cereal or a bag of cookies, because these were people who knew me well in college.
I was not drinking or anything, and neither did my friends. But we were addicted to licorice, some of us. And so I had a friend where we would go on licorice runs to the grocery store. That’s licorice, not liquor. I even had to edit this cause I said it wrong myself, but we would go on licorice runs and just talk. I really cherished those moments and other friends that gave me cereal because they knew I just kept eating lots of cereal. For some reason, this is before I realized the fat and protein were good for you and I wasn’t a sugar cereal person.
I wasn’t into any of those serials, but I had friends would buy me a box of cereal or a box of cookies because thes were really simple things that I loved. And so when I’ve received those gifts, they mean a lot more than what a normal cereal box, licorice or cookies would mean because it shows that they remember a part of our relationship. So all of these thoughts during the holidays as a reminder that some of these gifts are gifts of the heart, the take time or thought, or just a moment to care and don’t have to be lavish and don’t have to require lots of running around and trying to be part of all of the hustle and bustle, unless it’s for some very specific things that you would love to give.
But this is something that we can make part of us year round, and I know I have a goal to be a better gift giver this next year I’m really good at some things and other things I’m hitting. Miss and I know I have a goal to give the gifts in beautiful ways because I am a horrible gift wrapper, and I just have to admit to myself that I’m not gonna improve. I need to find someone that can do it well for me or just find really good packaging, so that does not diminish the overall look of the gift.
So enjoy yourself and enjoy the process of giving of yourself and a Seth, Godin says. Sometimes it’s gonna hurt to give its gonna be giving up something of yourself. But the willingness to do it can help us grow and get closer to others and feel more gratitude, compassion, love in our hearts and get better at identifying opportunities to give, as well as opportunities to be a better receiver of gifts, to be grateful for the gifts and to acknowledge the time and the effort and the thought that went into it from the other party.
Once again, I’m hopeful that thes little thoughts help you improve your work and give your best to the world. Talk to you soon. Thank you again for listening to the move your desk show. Take a minute and go to move your desk dot com and sign up for the weekly email. And remember, it’s not spam, but it may show up in that part of your inbox. Talk to you next Monday