The tradition of offering Christmas gifts to those around us is imbued with generosity and love. Although they are often a pleasure to give as much as to receive, gifts can also generate a whole range of emotions, in addition to saying a lot not only about our relationships... but also about ourselves!
If the gift can be a source of pleasure, it can also cause its share of stress and worries, especially financial. Between the limited budget, the short time to shop and our sometimes limited knowledge of the people who will receive them (a work colleague, for example), the search for what we will offer can be laborious.
Beyond its financial value, its aesthetic or practical aspect, the choice of the gift - just like the reaction it will generate - will be first influenced by our ability to put ourselves in the place of the other, to interested in his tastes, his needs.
In addition to providing pleasure to its recipient, the gift chosen with care and responding to their desires will reveal how well we understand and know them, further enhancing the happiness experienced on both sides.
The gift as a reflection of the relationship
Whatever its cost, a gift is never a neutral thing. Symbol of the bond that unites us to the person to whom we offer it, it says a lot about our level of complicity, while allowing us to create or solidify an emotional or social bond.
The gift can also translate what we feel, openly or not, for the other. Given to a friend to whom we are particularly close, it can allow us to express all our appreciation and gratitude.
In a romantic relationship about to blossom, the gift can become a gesture of great vulnerability, reflecting our feelings.
For some people, the gift may help translate what they would struggle to put into words.
In a relationship deemed unsatisfactory, the feeling of lack or frustration could come, voluntarily or involuntarily, to color the choice of what will be offered.
Similarly, feeling guilty about another for all sorts of reasons could lead to wanting to "redeem" yourself by giving them a gift of disproportionate value!
Who is the gift really for?
Seemingly banal, the gesture of giving a gift often includes a "third" dimension, the role that the person occupies in our life: parent, boss, ex-lover, teacher, friend who we feel is moving away, etc The question may then arise: to whom is the gift really addressed? Does this gift convey a message?
Within a couple, for example, offering a gift that corresponds above all to one's own desires risks disappointing, or even causing pain! Especially if this awkwardness is not an accidental exception in the relationship!
A gift that is too big or too expensive, aimed at showing off, could cause discomfort, even guilt for the person who receives it. Sometimes a big gift can reflect a feeling of "not being enough" in yourself to deserve another's love or affection.
The gift we offer can also bear witness to our experience, echoing what we did not receive or would have liked to receive, or even what we missed when we were children.
Be present to each other
By putting pressure on yourself to find the perfect gift, you can feel stress, anxiety, or even a feeling of not being up to the task if the present offered misses the mark!
It should not be forgotten that beyond the gifts you offer, what is experienced and expressed in a relationship is played out much more during the other 364 days of the year!
The gift is not an end in itself: it is more symbolic of the relationship we have with the other, and this certainly does not pass only through the gift!
This column will take a break for a few weeks. Looking forward to seeing you again in February, and until then, I wish you a very happy holiday season!