True giving comes from a pure heart and the desire to please another. It may also come from the intense desire to share something you love with another.
Sophia Weibel of Naperville, Illinois, writes about one of her most memorable gifts:
I have a sister who is four years younger than me. As we were growing up, my sister always wanted to do what I did and follow me around. I know now how much she loved me, but back then I had a very different response. It was around my birthday, and I was about to turn nine. My older brother gave me something “cool” he made in school, and my parents got me a toy that I wanted. My sister suddenly disappeared from the kitchen and ran upstairs in a frenzy as she was determined to get me a gift I’d really enjoy.
She came back down a few minutes later with two square presents wrapped in Sunday comics. She handed them to me with the biggest smile on her face, and she said she knew I’d like them. When I opened them up, I found they were my favorite books which she took from my bookshelf. It made me smile, and I hugged her so tight . . . I loved the books, though they were mine already, but I loved the thought even more, and from then on, I understood the love my sister had for me. To this day, I’ll never forget her thoughtfulness . . . although I must admit, she still follows me around (smile).
Some of the best gifts my children ever received were born of the love and passion others had for their work. Uncle Bruce, who lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, has a double doctorate in Biology and Zoology and teaches survival skills at Mesa State College. He has given both us and our children some of our most memorable and educational gifts, all associated with his passion. When Garrett was in fourth grade, his Christmas gift from Uncle Bruce was a fully preserved small shark, complete with a dissecting kit and instructions. Not only did Garrett learn a great deal about animal biology, but he was also the hit of the grade school as he got to visit every classroom and present a “show and tell” like no other!
My mother, who was a former art teacher, has given them many wonderful art projects to create, and Uncle Brian, who is a world traveler, brought them gifts such as an Afghani warrior’s sword and a centuries old pot from the canals of Thailand. Uncle Brian is also a dog lover, so another year he surprised us all with “Roscoe G. Simpson,” a cockapoo puppy who was a dearly loved member of the family. Because I love books and reading, each Christmas and birthday, even as adults, I give the children special books.
Kathie Hightower suggests a wonderful gift idea that she got from a military spouse which has been adopted by many others:
When my husband was being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, I wanted to give him a special gift. I bought a photo album with a 3-ring binding. I sent individual pages to all his friends and family with a letter asking that they fill the page with memories of Greg. That could include photos, funny memories, poignant memories, or whatever. Then I put the pages together. It’s a gift that he looks at over and over as the years go by. It would be a great way to do a gift for a special anniversary or a special birthday. It doesn’t cost much–just time. And it means more than most other gifts ever could.
The best gifts are those truly given from the heart as Sophia’s little sister did. Encourage your children that gifts don’t have to cost money. Then think about what your passions, loves, and interests are. Are you sharing those gifts with your loved ones?
Barbara Glanz Biography
A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.barbaraglanz.com.