“Oh well, I will just get them a gift card.”
We all throw that phrase around way too often when it comes to gift-giving. In our fast-paced society, birthdays, holidays, and special occasions often become more about stress and obligation than about gratitude and appreciation. We often forget that giving is most meaningful when it comes from our hearts… not just our wallets.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with giving someone a store-bought gift. But it is important to remember that the value comes from the thought that goes into a special surprise, not how much it cost or where it came from.
Here are four reasons to give a bit of your heart along with your gift:
1. It shows the recipient that you truly care.
Surprising someone with a meaningful gesture can impact them greatly. You never know what someone is going through behind the scenes, and showing a person how much they matter to you — and that you listen to what they say — can give someone the strength they need to move forward. You just never know. Tomorrow is not promised — tell people how you feel NOW, through meaningful gestures. Not only will they be happy and surprised by your thoughtfulness, you will feel satisfaction too when you see the smile on their face.
2. There is no return policy for thoughtfulness.
I have been in many situations where I’ve witnessed people buying a loved one a gift, knowing that they will probably return it and do their own shopping at the store instead. Sure, it’s a practical option, but why not craft a “gift certificate” or invitation to go on a shopping trip with your loved one instead? (Your treat!) The result is the same, with the addition of a memorable gesture that your loved one won’t forget… and that cannot be returned.
3. There IS time.
One common reason why people end up scrambling for gifts at the last minute is because of their busy lives. Or, you might believe that putting something special together would take “too much time.” Do not confuse TIME with EFFORT. There is always time to do what is worth doing, if you reflect on what is important to you and act accordingly. Do you value the opportunity to leave an impact on someone in your life?
4. In the social media world, where everything is seemingly instant, it is important to take the time to reflect.
How many times has Facebook reminded you that it was your friend’s birthday? While there are benefits to the fact that we can reach out to people in our lives with the click of a button, it is important to remember that social media isn’t reality, and putting effort into relationships is still necessary. Don’t just go with the flow; think ahead when it comes to events in your life and think about how you can make them as meaningful as possible. Friendship is not about Facebook likes and Instagram posts, but about lifting up the people you love, and making them feel special.
In a world that has been so divided and violent lately, spreading love and support is more crucial than ever. Don’t discount gift-giving by assuming it’s just about buying something for someone. The next time you have the opportunity to give someone a present, put your heart into it and you’ll get so much back.
Originally Published on Her Campus