Being a gracious giver is something that seems to come natural to some people, but chances are, they have worked on it to get to that point. By nature, when we do something nice for other people, we want to be noticed and acknowledged. However, the kindest way to give is to do so without calling attention to yourself. And if possible, do it anonymously.
There are some steps you can take to become a gracious giver. Remove any of those steps, and you will still be considered a kind person. However, following them will be giving in the truest sense of the word.
Consider the Recipient
When you give someone a gift—whether it's time, money, food, or an item they need or want—think about the other person rather than what you would want. What do they like? What do they need?
Here are some things to consider and examples of what to give:
- Does this person struggle each month to pay the bills? A gift card to a grocery store will be appreciated. Although it might not seem exciting to you, the recipient will enjoy grocery shopping without the worry of whether or not she can afford something she needs.
- Is the person doing fine financially but rarely does anything for herself? This is the kind of person you might consider gifting with a spa day. If you don't think she will like something that lavish, offer her a gift card to a bakery, the local florist, or other business where she can splurge on something she wants.
- Do you want to give a family something special that they can enjoy together? Whether you were a guest in their home for a weekend or you just want to give the new family next door something to welcome them, you might consider giving them a photo album, tickets to a local venue, or a gift basket with foods they can all enjoy.
Gift giving should come without any expectations or strings attached. Otherwise, it wouldn't be considered a gift. Offer your gift without expecting something in return, and you won't be disappointed. The very act of giving should bring you pleasure because it is done out of the kindness of your heart. If not, you might want to take a look at your motives.
Have you ever spent quite a bit of time and money on a gift for an exchange at the office or with family members, only to be disappointed in what you received? I think that has happened to almost everyone. Unfortunately, it shows that you aren't as concerned with the act of giving as you are going home with something that meets your expectations.
Remember that not everyone has as much time or money as you. Or for that matter, some might have more of both, but they have other things to spend it on. Accept the fact that whatever you get may be small in comparison to what you brought and move on. Be happy that you were able to do something nice for someone.
Gifts of Time and Talent
Some occasions call for another type of gift giving. You may know someone who needs a babysitter or someone to watch an elderly family member so the rest of the family can go somewhere. If you have the time and desire to help, your gift of time will be appreciated. Arrive on time, bring something to do (a book, music, or puzzle), and maintain a positive attitude. Even if you're not having fun, you are doing something special for the people who do this day in and day out.
Another gift may be your talent. A friend's daughter might be getting married, and she can't afford a photographer or videographer. If you are awesome behind a camera, you may offer your talent as a gift.
After the Giving
Don't have expectations after you graciously give someone something. The person should send you a thank you note, but not everyone knows to do that. If you aren't sure that a gift was received, you may call to find out. However, remain positive and avoid the urge to make the person feel guilty for not acknowledging the gift without a prompt.