Friday, October 18, 2013

Did You Do This Just For Me?

Every year, our family has a gift exchange.

But it's not the typical snow globes and picture frames and ugly sweaters. Our tradition is, you have to make your gift. By hand. From scratch.

What’s beautiful is, every gift is amazing in its own right. Over the years people have made leather belts, musical instruments, hot sauce dispensers, custom designed clothing, carry on luggage, even fine art pieces.

Proving that the best way to get the best out of people is not to tell them what to do.

And there’s another lesson. One that our culture seems to have forgotten.

Gift giving isn’t about finances, it’s about feelings.

It’s the generosity of giving yourself away to someone. It’s the thoughtfulness of expending intellectual energy for someone. It’s the physicality of burning real calories on someone. It’s the creativity of expressing yourself to someone. It’s the humanity of making that gift personal for someone.

And, it’s doing all of that in a manner that’s surprising, to the point where the recipient looks up in disbelief and wonders, did you do this just for me?

Yes I did.

The point is, people forget flowers.

If you truly want to make a meaningful deposit in someone’s emotional bank account, you need to throw in more than a few bucks at the corner store.

Throw in a little elbow grease, too.