You Get What You Give

I’ve been given a lot of advice over my 30 years on this planet, and there’s no way I could ever single out what I would consider to be the “best” sentiment.

From my grandma’s endless wisdom and constant reminders not to park next to a white van with no windows to the nurse who told me to do one thing every day that scares me, I would say it’s all been valuable (and taken with a grain of salt—wise advice in and of itself.)

But I am always brought back to:

“You get what you give.”

And while most of the time it has nothing to do with materialistic things but rather a giving of yourself to the universe, the giving of gifts is brought to the front as the holiday season rolls around.

The gift of pets being terrorized by holiday garb.

Along with my aversion to gluttony when it comes to the food—I checked, and green bean casserole is still not on the endangered species list since my post—I have an even greater aversion to the gluttony of consumerism that happens each holiday season, a time often filled with overspending and underestimation of what kind of gift would matter the most.

Before you apply the Scrooge label on my, let me explain.

My line of thinking is that something from the heart trumps superficial items that no one really needs and/or no one really wants but receives out of obligation and convenience.

In other words, you won’t find me camped out at Best Buy for three days to buy some video game/phone that will be available for sale a week later, going into debt at the mall to show someone how much I care or knocking down old women in Walmart on Black Friday.

To each their own, but the obsession with things bothers me.

Unless those things are cats in hats. (Old picture, RIP Wendell.)

My family agrees, so we pick and choose a few special things to get each other and try and do something nice for those who can’t afford the “needs”—usually the local Humane Society—instead of buying things we want. It’s much more satisfying.

But with that said, I love finding a few special things for someone.

I love the second I see or decide to make it, and because I’m me, I want to give it to them that second. I have never been given the gift of patience, and when I have something special up my sleeve, it’s hard not to pull it out like the fabric softener sheets I usually find up there halfway through the day.

And when I get a gift like that, it isn’t the present itself, but the fact that someone randomly thought of me and took the time to let me know. I want to give that feeling out to someone else, and even though it might feel like a waste at times—does anyone even care?—I have to believe that they do.

After all, if frustration stopped everyone from giving a piece of themselves, then no one would get to enjoy the simple, thoughtful gestures that make the holidays—and every day—a little bit brighter.

You get what you give.

Although I consider this my one and only rambling holiday consumerism rant of the year,  this post was also in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Best Advice

P.S.  I truly am horrible at holding on to things I could give away—another reason I will never have kids—so I have to say that there will be something you can both get and give on this blog in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

Carry on.

23 responses to “You Get What You Give

  1. I love giving gifts too, especially when they are spontaneous and unexpected. I’m a bit of a Christmas grump, to be honest – I don’t really see the point in all the gift-giving and OTT consumerism. My family just give each other small gifts or donate to charity – but during the year, if I see something for my sister that I know she’ll love, I buy it. Just because.

    • I agree 100 percent. In fact, you said what I was trying to say much more succinctly and precise than I managed to do up above. Ba humbug on the crap, but fa la la on the thought that counts.

  2. Awwww…I agree! I love Christmas and I love this time of year but I hate knowing that I am going to be judged by what I give. Like you I love to give…right now!!!!….esp when I find something that I love for them .

    As always even your ramblings make me smile…and you have inspired me today!

    • I don’t ever really worry about being judged for what I give, but I need to work on holding on to what I DO give longer than five minutes…
      And knowing you, I’m sure every gift you give is from the heart.

  3. Agreed. Agreed agreed agreed. We totes need to hang out.

    So much gross overexpendature on crap. With huge carbon footprints and waste. Etc. Augh. The Lipsick Hippie in me starts twitching in the corner the first time someone says “Blac Friday” – even if it’s July.

    I’m also the exact same about presents: I LOVE finding that perfect gift, so I usually look all year for holidays and birthdays. I HATE waiting to give them, too! 😀

  4. Love this… kids already got their gifts this year. My kids asked for an experience this year instead of another material thing they didn’t need. I’m still not sure if it is because they truly don’t want another thing, or if it is because because they have have heard enough of my meaning of Christmas rants, that we have way too much clutter rants, and my insistence that all of their belongings should be able to fit in a backpack so we can take off at a moment’s notice if needed rants. Either way, we will see how it pans out on Christmas when all they open are socks.

    • Opening stuff from my stocking is actually my favorite part, so having that to look forward to on Christmas is enough for me. Then again, I’m not a little kid, but it sounds like you’re teaching them well 😉 Experiences > things any day.

  5. I completely agree. Last year, I spent a bunch of cash getting people ugly sweaters and electronics that they could barely recall this year. I’m much better at thoughtful gifts that don’t cost as much, but usually require more time and effort. This year, LO and I are speaking to both of our families early on (like, now) and letting them know that (a) we’re not buying anything for anybody, (b) we don’t want anything except some fresh cabbage rolls. It’s going to take a lot of stress out of the holidays. Plus I’ll have more time to read your blog!

  6. My brother and I stopped exchanging gifts a long time ago. What was the point to saying “I’ll spend $50 on you and you spend $50 on me?” I still get my parents a gift though… because they get me A LOT MORE than I get them. Gotta look like I’m trying…

  7. My family’s weird ina good way. We concentrate on the kids’ gifts and fun rather than the adults. I get my parents gift cards because they’ll use them. My sister and I don’t speak much less exchange presents. My sister in law and I are best friends but we buy for each other’s kids.

    I was raised to be generous. It’s make me very freakish about receiving gifts and compliments. I take neither worth a damn.

    That being said cash makes a great holiday surprise for me. I’ll email you my address.


  8. I looooathe Black Friday. In fact, I believe Hell is comprised of nothing but consecutive Black Fridays, one day after another. And now that Cyber Monday is an option, I can get the same deals sitting on my couch in sweats and no makeup, with minimal chance of shoving/bruising?

    Yes. Please.

  9. Melanie The Spork Lover

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, I love this post. My friends and I have an agreement to not buy Christmas or birthday gifts for each other. Instead, if we see something we know they would like, we just buy it “because.” I also started making my own sugar scrubs for myself and decided to ask my girlfriends if they’d like one.

    I love seeing something and knowing it would be perfect for someone, and getting it, or making it. That’s way more rewarding than going out because you feel obligated by a holiday to try and buy something for someone. And it doesn’t make you a scrooge at all. It makes you a thoughtful friend.

  10. Thank you so much for this – now I know I’m not a Scrooge. Not that I had doubts, but Christmas consumerism is just getting ridiculous. I was born around Thanksgiving and it seems Black Friday has become a bigger holiday (not that I’m a fan of Thanksgiving either – it is such a warped tradition when you really consider American history). The stores started putting Christmas stuff up at Halloween and I almost started tearing it down. Add all this onto my resentment at Christmas being a holiday stolen from Pagans, and you have yourself a pretty scroogey me. 🙂

  11. Amen sister. Gluttony in terms of both food/consumerism/gifts over the holidays is disheartening to me. Some people lose their humanity at times when it’s supposed to be most important.

  12. I found out how to not be judged by what i give. I stopped trying and just give gift cards. That’s what I like to get so that is what I give.
    As to animals in costurmes and hats… Our kids used to put our cocker spaniel’s ears in a top knot. they would do it loosely and the dog didn’t seem to mind. But really… They also used to dress her in everything imaginable.

  13. I agree. I looooaaathhheeee obligatory gift giving. Nothing. But. Stress.

  14. I agree so much with this. It really is the thought which means most in any present giving.

  15. Wendell doesn’t seem to like his hat, but I love it! I’m totally using “National Family Pajama Day” this Saturday as an excuse to put dog PJs on Chuck. Hopefully I’ll get a good picture before he has a cow.

    I too love when I happen to think of the perfect gift for someone. But I hate obligatory gift giving occasions, they give me horrible gift givers’ block.

    The stress finally caused me to ask my two remaining gift-exchange friends if we can absolve the gift giving. I think they were offended, but I feel free.

  16. I genuinely like giving gifts. However, for me it’s more than a one day thing… If I happen to be somewhere and see something that makes me think of someone in a deep way and I have the money to spare, I get it for them. When it comes to holidays, I have the same mindset… For me it has nothing to do with a price tag (some wind up being handmade, because nothing seems to suit a particular person in quite the right way) – I also DON’T give gifts to some people, because for me gift giving is sort of intimate (in the “I really care about you or think highly of you” sort of way)

    Also, I truly do believe you get what you put out into the world, but rarely are those material things.

  17. I’m never disappointed when I visit your blog. Great stuff…

  18. I absolutely love giving gifts, so much more than receiving them. It’s so much fun to think about what would make someone else feel special. I am a big one for sewing and quilting and like to give gifts I make. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten myself so busy that I haven’t been doing any of it. Life keeps getting in the way.

  19. That picture of Chauncers is killing me! I love when I find the perfect item for someone especially when it’s not expected like around holiday time or a birthday. I have a horriblr habit of going to Goodwill and other thrift stores and finding gifts for my friends or fam. Some of them are cool with it because it is the thought that counts, other not so much.

  20. I cannot wait until my kids are old enough to hate Christmas as much as I do, but I worry they’ll stop wanting presents when that happens. In case they do, I’ve got a thousand ‘destination vacations’ in mind where we can celebrate the gift of each other, trapped together in someplace other than our own home.

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