On Giving Gifts and Being Seen
Hey there, how are you doing this Christmas (shopping) season?
Christmas is my favorite favorite holiday, but sometimes giving gifts can be hard, and sometimes getting gifts can be hard.
Have you ever gotten a gift that made you feel like that person really, really knew you? That gift was probably something you wanted, or related to something you were really interested in, but either way it just made you feel seen and known and loved. On the flip side, have you ever gotten a gift that made you feel the opposite? The gift wasn't just something you didn't particularly like, but made you feel, "this person does NOT get me.”
You've probably gotten both.
When we give someone a gift, we have the opportunity to connect on an emotional level. Connection is something that we as humans crave. Look at how much time we all spend on social media. What are we trying to do there? We're trying to connect. Brene Brown is an author/researcher I love and she says that "connection [is] the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued…”
Since the whole point of gift-giving is to show people that we care, it makes sense that we want to give people a gift that is not only loved, but also that makes a person feel loved. Something that encourages that connection. Something that makes that person feel seen.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this Christmas seasons, because that’s what I want my gifts to say.
Hey there, I see you. I know you are an individual. I care about you enough to ask you about your likes and dislikes, and about what you want. I care about you enough to try to get to know the person inside you, rather than assuming that you're just like me. And I think you're great the way you are. I can't give you everything that you want or change the things in your life that suck or fix your problems because, well, they're yours. But what I can do, is give you this gift. Because I care about you. And because I see you.
Something like that.
The key part of this is that I'm trying to get my gifts to say this. I know that I fall short of my own connection-inducing gift-giving standard most of the time. I hope that my giftees will be gracious when I do fall short of my own standard. And I'm trying to be gracious on my end. I have found a few strategies that have helped in my quest. (Bonus, it might simplify your Christmas shopping!)
Here's are my best strategies:
- Talk to your giftees. A lot. Or rather, get them talking to you. Ask them some questions, get a conversations going, find out what they’re interested in, what they like and dislike, what they need, etc. This is really how to see someone (in my opinion). When you have a relationship like this, the gift is just a token of the emotional connection.
- Ask people what they want, then buy them that.
- Ask them for a list, if surprise is really important to you.
- Ask their spouse or someone close to them who would know.
- Check their Pinterest.
Of course there are also a million gift guides out there made to make your shopping easier (and also lets be honest, they’re also made for the affiliate links). Gift guides are fun to look at and can have really great ideas as well. I’ve made a few included below for your perusing pleasure.
I’d love to hear about a gift you received that made you feel seen. Tell me your story in the comments!
And as always, if you liked this, it would make my day if you shared it.