First of all, there’s no specific right or wrong way to give a gift. But, there are some ways of giving that you should stay away from, and other ways of giving that make the experience that much better. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, because I really do like to give gifts. My wife and friends would argue that I love receiving gifts more than I like giving them, but I promise it’s not true! My wife has to be my mediator when it comes to gift giving or else I would go way over budget with our gift giving each year.
- Make a list of who you will give a gift to this year and categorize them by priority. Gift giving should be a well-thought out process. Make a list of the people that you will give to this year. Then, put a dollar amount on each person. Once you have done that, categorize each person into different gift-giving groups. There is the group of people that you are going to think of, but you won’t spend much time thinking of a unique gift to give them. There are those that you will think of and get them something that you already know they want or need. Then, there are those people who you really want to give them something special. This may be your spouse, best friend, closest sibling, and/or parents. I do most of this categorizing in my head, and the dollar amounts we spend on people have stayed the same the last couple of years, because our income has not changed. Once my wife starts working and our income increases significantly, we’ll be able to start spending more on our loved ones, because we only pay cash for gifts.
This year, we will send our closet friends a card with a Christmas photo of me, Lindzee, and the dog. Then, we’ll put a little something extra in there, but I won’t reveal what it is because some of them read this blog. It’s quick, easy, and it reminds them that we love them, but we don’t have enough resources this year to get them a big, huge gift. Plus, our friends have come to the conclusion that we’d rather save our money on gifts and spend it on times to get together, since none of us live in the same city right now.
- Don’t Give Based On What Others Give You. My biggest pet peeve is hearing people say “Well, he didn’t give me anything, why should I get him anything”, or “She’s spending $100 on me, so I should spend $100 on her”. Thinking like that is completely missing the point of giving to each other. You give based on what is on your heart to give to someone. Whether that be a $25 gift or a $100 gift, don’t worry about whether that person is going to get you something or how much they are spending on you.
- Give Joyfully and Abundantly
If giving a gift to someone or giving at all is a chore to you, then don’t bother giving to someone. I would much rather receive a gift from someone that really wanted to give me something, rather that someone that felt obligated to give or it put them in a bad mood to spend a bunch of money on gifts. Don’t take it the wrong way when I say that you should give abundantly. You definitely need to budget out your giving, but do it to the fullest amouunt that you can handle without bothering your other financial goals such as getting out of debt and saving.
So, are you stoked about the Holidays yet? To me, there’s nothing better than seeing a child open a gift at Christmas. The expressions on their face is priceless. I would encourage all of you to participate in Operation Christmas Child or the Angel Tree programs that your employer, local church, or organization participates in. If you have any good ideas for ways to be a better giver, leave a comment below.