Gift giving is top of mind for many of us this time of year. Whether it is finding something to give to a friend or family member or responding to the inevitable "what do you want/need?" inquires, it is certainly occupying my mind a lot this month. I love exploring gift giving options and often buy or make things throughout the year when I see something I believe a loved one might enjoy. However it is not easy when people ask me what I would like. It is a bit too much pressure for me, and when I really need something I like to pick it out myself. And it seems that I am not alone. The market for gift cards in the U.S. was almost $200 billion last year. That is mind-blowing. I imagine that represents millions of people who cannot come up with a gift idea.
The history of exchanging gifts this time of year goes back thousands of years, long before the Three Wise Men and Santa Claus, and gifts included fruit, nuts, clay dolls and wax candles. According to UNESCO the ancient Romans and Maoris of New Zealand believed "presents were objects endowed with a special power through the act of giving….By the exchange of gifts, often of mere token value, people give expression in outward and visible form to the inner spirit of community life spontaneous acceptance of interdependence one with another." So the plate of cookies or chocolate that you give to your neighbor is of far more value than if you were to eat them yourself (although if you sit down and share it together that might be even better, and tastier!). It is the token of giving that holds the magic, not the item itself that matters. Gift giving means you have thought about someone, and that you see and honor them in your life. That is pretty awesome. That is why we couldn't understand why our parents kept that lopsided art project you made them when you were a child, until we are a parent or have a beloved child in our lives and receive something like it ourselves. My Christmas tree today is covered in slightly tattered homemade ornaments that our children made over the years and it so full of heart warming memories.
Our systems of commerce and marketing so strongly influence our social norms today that I do not know if I could get away with giving my nieces and nephews a bag of fruit or wax candle as a gift without forever being known as the weird cheap aunt, but as they are getting older themselves maybe chocolate and pottery could replace the gift cards. So, as
you consider your gift giving intentions, keep in mind that you are infusing your gift with that "special power" just by giving it. And, as you receive, if something isn't aligned with your expectations, maybe regifting makes that power even stronger?
If you are stuck for ideas, we too participate in that massive gift card market, and offer gift certificates of any amount. In addition to our fun collection of clothing, jewelry, art, books and self-care items, or give the gift of yoga with a class-pack. We also have a growing on-demand library with new classes each week. So, even if you or your loved one is not in Sedona regularly you can share the Village Yoga Sedona community spirit with them with live-stream and on-demand options.
Finally, there are many children in our communities that do not have people able to share gifts with them, so please support our Toys for Tots toy collection, or one in your local community if you are not in Sedona. Every child deserves a toy with that "special power" known as love.