‘Tis the season of gift-giving. We’re into the final stretch of holiday festivity preparation, and while some have had presents wrapped and stacked for weeks, others might be scrambling for last-minute options to gift to loved ones young and old. For those of you who are scrambling—you’re not alone.
We know what it feels like to receive a gift that has sentiment or forethought, and we likely know how to feign joy through a disappointing or confusing gift exchange. If you’re familiar with Arbinger’s work, you know that pretending anything is typically futile (hint: there’s something deeper than behavior that others can sense). We call this deeper thing mindset, or way of being, and it has a lot to do with giving and receiving.
The secret to good gift-giving is being alive to the humanity of others. When we realize that gifts have very little to do with what we want to bestow, and a lot to do with what would make another feel joy, gift-giving becomes simplified.
Take a moment to think about what you know about the recipient in question. What are their likes, dislikes? Hobbies? Passions? What do they spend their weekends doing? Where is their happy place? Which foods are their favorites?
When we see others as people, taking into account their dreams, desires, joys, needs and concerns, ideas of ways we can serve (this includes gift-giving) come into focus. The stress of the season fades, and our attention turns to ways we can bring light into the lives of others.