How to give the best Christmas gifts ever
Each Christmas, I spend hours upon hours looking for the perfect gift for each person on my list.
After I got married, the pressure to find the best gift grew to a whole new level. Our first Christmas as a married couple, I spent an incredible amount of money (that we couldn’t necessarily afford) on gifts to impress his family. I wanted them to like me and think we had it all together. But months of paying off those gifts taught me a lesson in remembering what gift giving at Christmas should really be about.
While the Christmas season is often marked by joy, family time, and generosity, if we aren’t careful it can also be a time of jealousy, resentment, and competition. I stressed myself out mentally, physically, and financially trying to impress people. I wasn’t searching for gifts to make others happy; I was gift-giving to bolster my personal appearance and be accepted by my new family.
Gift-giving is about sharing with others from the generosity Jesus has shown us.
Giving gifts isn’t about the amount or value of what we give. It’s about the motivation of our hearts as we share with others what Jesus has given us. Giving from an overflow of Christ’s gift for us allows us to experience the joy of generosity instead of feeling the pressure to measure up.
Three Guidelines for Gift Giving
1. Understand why we give presents at Christmas.
In Matthew 2, three wise men travel from a far away land to visit baby Jesus. The Bible says, “They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11). Many believe that today’s custom of giving gifts is because these wise men, the Magi, gave gifts to Jesus. But the Magi weren’t the only ones to give gifts in the Bible.
The most important gift ever given was God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We give others gifts out of the thanksgiving and generosity God first showed to us.
2. Be generous, not jealous.
2 Corinthians 9:11 tells us that being generous is a way to bring our thanks back to God. When we give generously and sincerely to others, we are pleasing God (Hebrews 13:16).
But if we aren’t monitoring our motivations, our “generosity” can be a result of jealousy and competitiveness instead of thanksgiving. Philippians 2:3 says to “do nothing from rivalry or conceit.” This includes gift-giving. Our motives for giving to others should not be about us or how others will perceive us. Our generosity should always point back to Jesus.
3. Remember gifts are blessings, not burdens.
Gift-giving often causes stress and burden to both the gift-giver and the recipient. People spend large amounts of time and money choosing gifts that will impress, and recipients are often overwhelmed with the need to give gifts in return that measure up. The cycle becomes one of comparison and competition, and we often lose sight of the reason we give gifts to begin with.
Gift-giving isn’t meant to be a burden. It’s meant to be a blessing for both the giver and the recipient. Proverbs 18:16 says, “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
Giving isn’t about buying the most expensive present; it’s about remembering the blessing Christ gave us and sharing that with those around us.