The Art of Giving

The holidays are fast approaching. The simplest reminder that the season of giving is upon us is, the chill in the air, my need to watch Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday movies on Hallmark, and the baking that is already taking place in my tiny kitchen. The smell of hot cocoa and peppermint candy, and Christmas lights on display really do the trick for me.

Christmas time has long been designated as the season for giving. I am not sure when it became synonymous with bestowing gifts unto our loved ones, lavish or inexpensive, but it is a cultural practice that many people enjoy. Though giving goes into overdrive at this time of year, it is important to remember why we give to others all throughout the year.

When giving, you are depositing into the spirit of individuals around you. Giving is an act that employs a physical, mental, social and spiritual exchange. Whether the gift is in the form of a physical item or something intangible like time, the core of the act of giving is the thoughtfulness, time, love and concern that is being extended from one being to another.

There are several core aspects of giving that I like.

1. It must be done selflessly and with no agenda. In a world where everything is publicized and done sometimes, simply in the name of recognition, very little is private anymore. The focus should not only be on your act of kindness, but also how the receiver will accept your kind gesture. There should never be an agenda, otherwise the act become reduced to a mere exchange, rather than a connection of love and light.

2. It must be done with no expectation of being reciprocated. When giving, see it as a social and communal responsibility. Some culture don’t have a word for “Thank you,” and it makes perfect, logical sense. It should be expected that kindness, generosity and bartering are extended to those around us. It doesn’t show a lack of appreciation, but an awareness that givers are receivers, and receivers are givers. We are all on the same playing field. Your payment comes in the universe giving you what you give out.

3. Know you’re planting seeds. What really happens in giving is that we are planting seeds that need to be nurtured in order to foster relationships. By giving, you’re also receiving. You may give time, or even a simple material object and realize that it helps in developing a relationship. As mentioned before, it is not the material object, but the thought and time put into considering the individual.

As we go into the weekend, keep these three things in mind, and the art of giving becomes easier, because a giver is also a receiver, and a receiver a giver. I know this may sound idealistic, but practicing these core principles can really enlighten you on the purpose of giving. Find joy in giving.

(Photo credit, @krystynwhitty via Black Girls With Gardens)