Hidden Gifts


A pattern I’ve noticed over the past year, in each of our monthly areas of focus, is that perfectionism is my evil nemesis. I may have the purest intent – to spend quality time with my family, to try new things, to show gratitude, but I’m sunk when I start expecting unrealistic perfection from myself or others. I’m finding that it’s true in the realm of gift giving too.

I want to give… the perfect gifts – everything that people need and want. I’d send my husband on a trip around the world, and treat the rest of my family to the ultimate Hawaiian vacation (unless they live in Hawaii, then I might send them to Italy). A certain someone I know would get all the books her heart desired, and a year-long sabbatical to devote to writing. I’d buy laptops, iPads, Promethean boards, and crazy huge classroom libraries for every preschool and kindergarten teacher in Denver. I’d fund Reggio-inspired, Montessori, and expeditionary learning schools, all over the world!

I turn Oprah-esque in my mind, so that when I come back to earth, I feel like I don’t have enough to give. I’ve gone to such an extreme philanthropic fantasy, that my actual gifts and donations seem insignificant, never enough. My logical mind knows that it’s the thought that counts, that I shouldn’t get stuck in a never enough mentality, but logic doesn’t always come naturally to me. And it gets worse: sometimes when I don’t think I can give the perfect gift, I end up not giving anything at all.

I know it’s ridiculous, so I’d like to let go of it. And it’s funny – when I’m ready to let go of something, support and inspiration seem to appear at every turn.

I read this blog post by a woman who practices random acts of kindness on her birthday each year.  She shares lots of great ideas for giving, that don’t cost a lot of money.

And this quote popped up in my inbox today:

Our highest power is love, and it is one thing each of us has an unlimited amount of. How much love do you give to others in one day? Each day we have an opportunity to set out with this great, unlimited power in our possession, and pour it over every person and circumstance.

Love is appreciating, complimenting, feeling gratitude, and speaking good words to others. We have so much love to give, and the more that we give, the more we receive. 

-Rhonda Byrne

Love could be my best hidden gift.  Because it can be an unlimited resource. Because it can’t be lost or delayed in the mail. Because I can choose to tap into it at any moment. Maybe hiding it away is the ridiculous thing…
The time has come. Look under your chair. You’re on my Favorite Things show, and I’m giving you unlimited love. Please remember the word unlimited. You don’t need to hoard it or fearfully hide it away – host your own Favorite Things show and give away as much of it as you can, to every person that shows up, no exceptions. I also hope you’ll give love in a way that’s authentic and joyful for you – quietly giving is just as beautiful as a loud proclamation.

2 thoughts on “Hidden Gifts

  1. Good reminder, Elise–especially during this time of year! Right along with Amanda Soule’s Simple & Special post from last year. Go ahead and spend some of that unlimited love on yourself : )

  2. We are so on the same page with this one. I have tried for so many years to relax about gift giving, to no avail. This year actually feels like I’ve loosened the grip a little. I still drove around today with no clear plan but lots of ideas of buying something for someone.
    I was thinking that I still have a couple more days to make everyone weep with joy and gratitude on Christmas Day when they discover and open my perfect gift to them. “How does she do it?” Well, she didn’t. Even the kid gifts are gift cards which is about all I could muster this year. (Maybe I can be the perfect Santa next year or do some more letting go.)
    Sending unlimited loving and generous thoughts to the whole wide world. Cheers!

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