As we continue to navigate remote life, I’ve developed an immense gratitude for gifts. There’s a reason they are one of Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.
In the past six months, I have been blessed by unexpected letters, phone calls and text messages, flowers and cookies dropped on my porch or sent through the mail, and generous help with creative projects. These gifts may seem materially “small,” but they are energetically massive.
The phenomenon of gifting is an inherently radical act in a society where commodification of human needs is the norm.
Lewis Hyde’s modern classic The Gift describes how the act of gifting indicates membership in an inner circle, family or tribe. It implies a long-term relationship in which giver and receiver are invested in one another’s well-being. Gifting is not an exchange. Rather, it is the means by which social bonds are established and strengthened.
Contrast this with the transactional practice of trade. While business “relationships” exist, they exist solely to facilitate exchange and focus on what each party “gets” out of the deal. The opposite of gifts, transactions tend to prevent or weaken social bonds. For our ancestors living in small communities, trade partners were considered outsiders.
We need to balance our current transactional culture with our innate spirit of generosity. It’s not one or the other, but both.
Today, business improves when it includes an element of generosity, and our private lives benefit from healthy boundaries. Remember that a gift can be anything at all, and the more personal and creative, the better! That’s the magic of it. Here are a few ideas for everyday gifting:
Gifts of Food: A primal comfort zone for most, preparing and serving food can quickly create a feeling of safety and belonging.
Gifts of Time: Particularly for parents, an hour or even 15 minutes of solitude or rest behind a closed door or on a private walk can be both relieving and replenishing. Alternatively, giving your own time as a supportive listener or walking companion can be equally as powerful.
Gifts of Words: We really can’t thank, appreciate, or compliment one another enough. Choosing descriptive heartfelt words is a creative practice in itself. Also, don’t underestimate a well-timed joke. 🙂
Gifts of Craft: Something that is easy for you may be inaccessible and highly prized by others. Offering your skills where they are needed, or making intentionally by hand, can bring light and joy into someone’s day or year.
And if you’re interested in gifting material objects to uplift and comfort your loved ones, here are three lovely items to consider:
Shine Oracle Deck – Created by a mother-daughter team, this beautiful tool encourages you to move from head to heart with hand-painted imagery and gentle inquiry questions.
Earth is Holding You – An exquisite book of paintings and poetic words that offers encouragement when you’re experiencing disconnection, fear, doubt, and loneliness. For children (and inner children) of all ages.