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Offer a compliment as a gift and they'll remember Christmas 2009Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009, at 1:28 PM
Compliments are always nice to get. We all love to get compliments and we tend to remember them forever. Knowing how getting one can make our day, why don't we break down and hand one out to make somebody else's day?
After all, this is called the season for giving. Or should that be the season for shopping? Or the season to give your money to a chain store in exchange for gifts you can give to someone who, a few years from now, probably won't even remember what you gave them?
That saying about how the best things in life are free ... could be morphed into a saying about how the best gifts to give, and get, are free.
A new perspective on Christmas giving came to me 17 years ago. It was the most miserable, depressing, awful Christmas season I've ever had.
Earlier that year, my oldest son passed on, in one of those unexpected events that isn't supposed to happen, and it was the first Christmas without him. I was barely getting through regular days let alone those days when everything is supposed to be merry and bright.
During that time period, there was a lot of thinking and talking about the times when he was still here. Friends and family frequently told "I remember the time he ..." stories. Those memories were comforting. They didn't make everything wonderful again, but they helped.
Listening to all those stories that year was not only comforting to me but gave me an eye-opener at Christmas time.
Nobody told even one story about what they gave or got or didn't get at Christmas time or any other time.
The memories that touched the heart, the ones that people talked about, were not the ones you shop for, plan for, prepare for.
The memories that we laughed about, and cried about, were ones that didn't cost money to produce.
It was all about something someone said, or did, or some odd little event you can't predict or plan.
Now every year I overhear people talking about the big ordeal getting ready for Christmas. How are you going to get all that shopping done? How are you going to pay for it all? What is the right gift? Will they like it? Will it fit? Can it be returned? Do they already have one? What color wrapping paper should I use? Does this bow look OK?
Problem with all that is 10 or 20 years from now, they probably won't be able to remember what you gave them in 2009.
So cutback on the stuff that comes in a box and instead give them a compliment or a thank you. Recognize them for some way they are special.
I also hear about people saying they're cutting back on the number of presents they give, because of the cost.
So give gifts that don't cost a dime, gifts that can be given to everyone you meet. And 10 or 20 years from now, and maybe even long after you are gone, it'll be the thing that someone remembers.
Anna is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by calling 847-4487 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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