Tag Archives: gifts

Christmas Relationships

What IS it about Christmas and gift giving that causes SO MUCH STRESS on the one giving and the one receiving?!?!

Here is what I mean…

The one giving the gift has the pressure of “getting it right” – making sure they give a gift that the other person either needs or really wants. BUT – is it the right color? The right kind? The right size?

And if it is not the right size, if I get it too big will they think I think they are fat? If I get it too small, will they think I am trying to tell them something?

If I spend too much, what will others think about their gift from me because I didn’t spend the same amount?

Or are you like so many others who say, “I’m just going to get them a gift card, because they are SO HARD to shop for!”

OR, “I really don’t have enough money, but I can make them something…I wonder if they will think I am cheap for not buying them something.”

The one receiving has the pressure of “responding the right way” to the gift given. Do I act surprised even though I know what they are giving? What do I do if I don’t like the gift, or the color?

What if it is the wrong size, how do I let them know? What if I give the wrong facial expression, they might think I don’t appreciate their gift?

What if I didn’t get them the same cost value gift as they are giving me? They may think I don’t think of them the same way!

Christmas can be the most deceptive time of the year when it comes to our relationships.

Should we put on an act? Or should we just be thankful someone thought of us at all?

Is it necessary to get a gift for someone I consider part of my life?

Lots of questions haunt this time of year because of our tradition of giving and receiving gifts. The sad part is, we have a tendency to place more emphasis on the gift and what it means about our relationships that we forget showing love and appreciation for someone should happen all through the year, not just on Christmas day.

We do not need to give physical gifts to show someone how much we are grateful they are in our lives.

Sometimes, just a warm hug and letting them know verbally how much and why we are thankful for their relationship with us can mean more than any physical item that is bought, given and received on ANY day of the year.

I am not a proponent of NOT giving gifts. Not one iota. I love seeing the expression on someone’s face when they truly to receive something they need or desire. Just look at this video of people receiving puppies for Christmas…

We truly put more pressure on ourselves than is necessary. We should never compare our friendships, family and any other meaningful relationship to the size or cost of a gift given and received.

What makes the relationship meaningful is the fact that even if NO gifts were ever given, you know you can rely on that person for support, love, caring, a listening ear, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, encouragement, appreciation, affirmation, and time well-spent.

Maybe this imbalance in gift giving and receiving is the reason why SO MANY people cannot accept that Jesus was a free gift to the world…

He was the gift that God know we needed. He wasn’t a gift that came wrapped in the best, shiniest wrapping paper with a perfect bow. He was the gift that came wrapped in strips of cloth lying over hay.

He wasn’t a gift that was accepted by many because he wasn’t what they were expecting or hoping for.

Still today, Jesus is a gift – His birth, life, sacrifice and coming back to life IS the most free gift anyone could ever receive. However, many of us don’t give the gift to others of how He has changed our lives and transformed our thinking.

This Christmas – go ahead and give your gifts, receive your gifts, and provide as many warm hugs as you can. Just remember, it is not the value of the physical gift you give someone that makes the relationship. It is the value you find in the relationship that makes the difference.

Show someone that you value them – even those you do not know – and recognize they are there, that they are valuable – not because of the gift you are giving them, but because they are one of God’s creative masterpieces.

Merry Christmas to you and may God fill the rest of this year with joy!

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


GRATITUDE: More than just a “Thank You”

Today is a gift. This moment is a gift.

Those who are in your life are a gift. You are a gift to those around you.

My best friend once told me about his father. His father had a heart for giving to others. He also let me know that the only thing his father asked for in return was a thank you.

Have you ever given a gift to someone and instead of receiving a grateful response, you received silence?

Gratitude is more than just a “Thank you.” It was not necessarily the “Thank you” my friend’s father was looking for. It is not the silence that incenses you after you have given a gift. It is the lack of gratitude. It is the act of someone taking for granted the gift that was given, or the person who gave it.

In relationships, there is an aspect of humility that says we are to give without expecting anything in return. This would be the best response of the giver. Yet, it still hurts when the one who gives does not receive a grateful response.

All of us play the role of the recipient. Whether it is a gift at a birthday party, a job, food, a place to sleep, the air we breathe, a moment that changes us, a relationship that encourages us, etc. – we are ALL recipients.

What is our attitude when it comes to receiving? When we take a breath, we expect that we will receive the air necessary to keep us alive. But what happens when those breaths are hard to come by?

When we turn on our faucets, we expect that water will flow from the faucet so we can drink and be refreshed. But what happens when the water doesn’t flow? It has been said that only once you have carried your own water will you learn the value of every drop – meaning carry it from the well to your house.

Another expression is, “One does not understand the value of something until it is gone.”

When time passes and we live in gratitude, each moment is a gift. The question is, how do you wish to spend it? Would you rather spend it as if you deserved it? Or spend it as if it was a gift to be treasured?

How about the people in our lives? Each person is a gift (yes, even the ones that require more effort to love). Are we expressing our gratitude for the people in our lives?

I challenge you today and this day forward to be intentional about every moment, and every person. As you go through your day, write down at least once a day for thirty days something you are grateful for. Make it different each day. Put some thought into it. Write what makes you grateful and why it makes you grateful.

After thirty days of gratitude, I guarantee you will look at your life, what is in your life, the people in your life and your time much differently.

It is so easy to get caught up in what we do and how we do it. It is so easy to begin to think we deserve what we have as opposed to being grateful for what we have. It is so easy to take for granted the simple pleasures and the beauty that surrounds us. It is so easy to stop noticing the value of what is right in front of us, especially in our relationships.

What is gratitude?

It is a perspective. It is a viewpoint.

When you are walking the streets of New York City, you see the streets, the concrete, the people, the cars, and the busyness of life. It can be easy to think only on the problems that surround you, the difficulties you are facing, and the mundane nature of each moment.

However, when you go to the top of the Empire State Building and look in any direction – your perspective changes. Sure your problems, difficulties and the insanity of the mundane are still present, but your perspective above it all changes.

You realize you are part of something much bigger. Your life DOES matter. The people in your life DO mean something. Each moment IS a treasure.

There is a video that does the best job of explaining gratitude, with visually stunning time lapse photography. Be encouraged today. You can watch it here.

Take some time and show gratitude for what you have. Show gratitude to the people that are in your life. Be grateful for the air you breathe. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. As you do, slow down your thinking and find something to be thankful for.

If you are reading this and thinking, “This guy is nuts! He obviously doesn’t know what I am going through! I don’t have a reason to be grateful with all of the problems I am facing!”

This post is for you. You especially should “CLICK HERE” to take 9 minutes and 55 seconds of your life and shut out the issues you are currently facing to be reminded of what you can be grateful for.

Once we change our perspective to one of gratefulness, we can then focus on our relationships with others and how we can exemplify gratitude to others.

It is another aspect of the “Lost Art of Relationship” that can be reignited in us and through us. What would it look like if those around you appreciated what they have? Were grateful for YOU even?

Exemplify gratitude to others, and watch the attitudes of those around you begin to adapt to yours.

Thanks for reading… I appreciate the time you take to read my thoughts, watch the videos and share them with others. I’m just one man on a journey to find “The Lost Art of Relationship” and put it into practice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Please comment below. Share this on Facebook, Twitter, or even email it to someone you feel may need to hear this message. I’m grateful.