Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What is a Gift? Part 2

Some of you have read my previous entry, What is a Gift?

Though no one until this point has posted a comment, I have received a couple of emails from friends expressing disdain for anyone who would question a gift. They have told me that a gift is a gift. If you don't like the gift, then you're not supposed to complain about it because a gift is not something that is supposed to be expected and one doesn't pay for it.

What do you all think? I'd really like to know your opinions on this. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

For me, it's the intent of the heart. I have re-gifted maybe once in my life, felt a pang of guilt but also knew that the giftee would be thrilled with the gift and decided the greater good was the gift transferring from me to the giftee. I do use the word "gift" in this scenario even though there was little sacrifice on my part because I could just as easily have trashed the gift or set it on a table and hated it every day. Where's the good in that?


Anonymous said...

I heard a long time ago that a certain company used to give frozen turkeys to workers every November. One guy used to refuse his - he had no desire to cook it or eat it. The next year, someone made a papier mache turkey and froze it, and they all insisted he take it home. He didn't want to, but he finally gave in. Everyone smiled and couldnt wait for the next Monday to see how he took the practical joke.
On Monday, they couldn't wait to ask him at the morning meeting. He just smiled and said his girlfriend cooked it and they really liked it. They asked him how that could be since they had given him a fake turkey for a joke since they knew he didn't like them.
He got a horrified look on his face and left the meeting and in fact left the building. He didn't return until the next day and he looked terrible. So they tried to tell him they were sorry for the joke and would make it up to him. He replied, "You don't understand. I didn't want the turkey, and so on the way home, I stopped and gave it to a destitute family on the side of the road. I thought they would truly remember the spirit of thanksgiving with the gift from a nameless stranger. Now i'm sure they think i played a horrible joke on them and their poor children and i tried to find them to make it up, but now i can't and i feel terrible."

So what's the moral of that story? It's up to you to decide that. What if you were the mother of that family? What wold you do?

I believe Joe's question is wonderfully challenging to each of us. I have been the regifter and the regiftee. I gave my heart twice. Once it was horribly used and ignored. The next time it was (and still is) cherished. Even though it was a used heart.

It's the intent of the heart - in both the giver and the receiver. If someone gives you a gift, accept it graciously from them. And if you give a gift, release it to the receiver without bond or expectation. It is now theirs and it us up to them, not you, to decide what they will do with it and how.

Sally la peste said...

I will answer with a poem of Kahlil Gibran:
- There are those who give little of the much which they have -and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
-There are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers of life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
- There are those who give with joy, and the joy is their reward
-There are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
-And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor give with mindfulness of virtue, they give as a younger valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
It is well to give when asked but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; and to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.
This is what I think of giving and receiving gifts.
Love you sis Sally

Joe Ganci said...

What wonderful responses! Thank you so much, Tom, Jim and Sally!

Anonymous said...

A gift should be treasured, unless of course its a 30 year old steak knife set in a crushed box. Yeah, we got that for a wedding gift. I sincerely appreciate the gift, however, it was clear that these steak knives were from a rummage sale, or had been in their attic for several decades. So was a gift, or an insult? You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

I remember being 8 years old at christmas and my uncle and aunt giving me a hat that was 3 sizes too small and mismatched glove/mitten..I looked at my mom and dad wondered if this was a joke..I could not get the hat on, and one was a mitten and one was a glove...they were both for the same hand..I kid you not...I cried and asked in front of them what did I do to deserve this. The answer was don't be upset it was the thought that counts. While I look back and still try to understand it was the last time I received a gift from them..There reasoning..I was ungrateful and unappreciative. To this day I cringe when getting gifts for other people..afraid I'm going to hurt them.

Joe Ganci said...

Very interesting comments. Real food for thought. Thank you.

You remind me of when we got married and I got some interesting gifts then. One was a frying pan without a handle. The person who gave it to us said he was sure we could find a handle at a hardware store if we looked hard enough!

Regarding the weird present you got when you were eight years old, I agree that it's the thought that counts. In this case, I don't think there was much thought put into this present! So the thought in this case didn't count, and your uncle and aunt were not very good gift-givers. You were probably better off not receiving any more gifts from them - who knows what weird useless items they may have given you in the future!

Thanks again for your comments.

Joe said...

To me, each day is a gift. I wasn't supposed to live my first year.

When anyone gives me the smallest thing, I am greatful. It shows that I mean something to them. I think a good gift is something from the heart, and sometimes that means giving something that you have used yourself, and has a small part of you in it.

My mother has always made gifts for everyone. Even when she could afford to buy the same thing. The making was the gift. My wife and my friends all knew this, and prefer her handmade gifts to any other.

In a world of generic presents picked up prewrapped and sterile of feeling, it is the small, personal gifts that mean the most.