I love giving gifts.
No boasting intended here, just one of the things I love doing. Trust me, it can be so frustrating – like the sound of perfectionism, a creative mind, limited budget, too much ambition, short time frames and no crafting space all rolled into one? Like I said: frustrating.
But I still love it!
I love giving gifts, but can get really embarrassed by people’s responses, especially if they’re loud about their appreciation in front of lots of people. Ugh. Someone give me a chair to crawl under.
So giving anonymous gifts should be the perfect solution, right?
I gave an anonymous gift today and it is driving me crazy!
I managed (I hope!) to sneak it into a place where nobody saw me leave it, but it was sure to be noticed and picked up, but I can’t stop worrying that nobody noticed it and it’s still hanging out there in the dark, or that the wrong person saw it and it never got to the intended recipients, or what if it fell of and spilt open all over the place? I can’t check, because it’s anonymous!
I’m pretty sure, from my knowledge of the parties, that the gift will be enjoyed and the sentiment behind it appreciated. But I have to admit that I have been checking Facebook and Twitter all day to see if one of the people has mentioned getting it and/or enjoying it. Not witnessing the response myself is so frustrating. I have no way of finding out if it was enjoyed, because it’s anonymous!
I spent time making this gift, carefully packaged this gift, planned a stealthy delivery of this gift, am confident in the enjoyment this gift will bring and didn’t get embarrassed by overly public thanks for this gift. Should be a winner for me.
Only I am left disappointed, frustrated, wondering …
I realise more fully now that for me, the reception of the gift is almost as important as the giving. Not – I hope – because of the praise, but because of the feelings I can see in the person who I gave the gift to.
For me, gift giving is all about how I make the recipient feel.
I love seeing the wondering smile on someone’s face, because you remembered what their favourites are. I love seeing the excitement because they immediately fall in love with it. I love seeing the softening look when it was just what they needed right then. I love seeing the sparkle in a kid’s eyes as they meet the new friend I sewed for them. I love the look of surprise when someone wasn’t expecting any gift. I love knowing that the person is going to walk away feeling more loved, more understood, more appreciated and maybe most importantly – remembered. I love knowing that I’ve given them two very important gifts beyond the physical package itself – thought and time.
Today, I didn’t get to see any of that. Whilst I can guess, I don’t know. I haven’t witnessed any of the feelings that complete gift-giving for me.
Is my love of giving ultimately a selfish and self-serving process? I don’t think so, because my ultimate aim is to bring joy, love and hope to the recipients.
Do I find the process incomplete without witnessing the feelings my gift creates? Absolutely!
Which is an important reminder about what gift giving is really supposed to be all about for me – the person who receives it. It has surprised me how much I miss witnessing, or at least being told about, my gift’s reaction. It’s a bit of a jolt to find out how much pleasure I get from the appreciation of the recipient, how important that is to me – not really because of the praise, but the assurance that it brought about the feelings I intended to create.
I need to practice this anonymous thing. I need to remind myself that the recipient is the important person in this process. I need to re-focus on why I give gifts in the first place.
Giving anonymously is hard.