Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping for the Perfect Gift?

  • By Bonnie Hooley, LIT

There is so much beauty surrounding Christmas.  The colorful lights, the carols, baking, and the Christmas gatherings.  It is a time when families often make an effort to connect, and memories are enjoyed.  The season is so exciting it can be hard to choose your favorite parts. There are also the gifts, and Christmas shopping.

Have you noticed at Christmas, when gift-giving, we get more joy over watching someone open a gift than receiving one?  Especially when it comes to children. Nothing is better than watching an excited child opening presents on Christmas morning.  The joy in the air fills our hearts, warming the day, giving truth to the saying, “it is more blessed to give than receive”.

Once we experience the true joy of gift-giving, we are hooked.  The warmth in our hearts is something we seek to duplicate, year after year.  Yet often with disappointing results.

The hunt for the perfect gift can start as early as Boxing Day.  For many, it is a last-minute flurry. Whether we are a planner or last-minute shopper, many of us spend the Christmas season on the hunt for the perfect gift.

I have observed our Christmas shopping practices and have concluded that, for most of us, we miss the mark when it comes to gift-giving.  In an effort to feel the joy of giving, we fall into the trap of bigger- better – more. Only to be left disappointed, exhausted and financially worse off on Christmas day.

First, there is the pre-Christmas stress – planning who to buy for, what to buy, and what to spend.  Then there is the bustle of busy malls, battling the crowds while Christmas shopping for the perfect gift.  We spend time preparing our homes, offices, and wardrobe for the season. We fight with the wrap and ribbon in anticipation of the joyous moment.

A few of us throw caution to the wind and blow the budget on Christmas.  We think that somehow, if we spend more on a gift or give more gifts our joy of giving will be multiplied.

Others try to take a more affordable approach.  Google search engines are overloaded with searches for Christmas budgeting tips, Christmas on a shoe-string, best Christmas stores, and planning for Christmas early. We look for the perfect balance – finding the right gift while making gift-giving more affordable in hopes of preserving our finances.

Regardless of the approach, more often than not, the joy we receive in watching the recipient is fleeting.  We are left with an empty feeling to replace that gift-giving joy, soon after the gifts are opened. The seasonal disappointment sets in.

Why is that?  All that time, effort, cost, and preparation for a fleeting moment of joy while we watch the recipient enjoy the gift.  It seems that the effort expended far exceeds momentary joy. We somehow know we missed the mark. We begin to plan. Next year will be better, and the cycle begins again.

Last Christmas was a little hard on me because my mom had passed away on December 1.  My mom was quite famous for her homemade buns. She started baking buns at age 5 and by her mid-eighties, she had by far mastered the craft.  No one’s buns compared to hers. During her final days and at her funeral, the loss of that delicacy was discussed.

Last Christmas morning, my niece showed up at my home with a treasured gift: “mom’s buns”.

My niece had ensured that prior to mom’s passing, she would preserve mom’s legacy.  She spent time with my mom learning her wealth of tips and tricks for making perfect buns.  She knew that my first Christmas without my mom or her buns would be difficult. She knew that presenting me with the homemade buns would be the perfect gift.

I can truly say that of all the gifts I received that year, that was by far the greatest.  It wasn’t the most expensive gift I received, nor was it the gift that took the greatest effort to find.  It was the kind of gift that will bring me joy for my remaining years. Also, my niece was not left with the empty feeling of seasonal disappointment that so often accompanies Christmas gift-giving.  It has, in fact, brought us closer, which is a continuing gift to both of us.

My niece didn’t do Google searches or brave the mall.  She didn’t struggle with packages or ribbons. Her after-Christmas budget was intact.  She was able to experience the true joy of gift-giving without being left with a seasonal void that is so common.

Why is that?  Why did such a simple gift bring such joy to the giver and recipient?  How did she accomplish so much with so little?

Perhaps we are searching in the wrong places for the perfect gift.  Perhaps true giving has nothing to do with our personal budget or the right Christmas store.

What my niece gave me for Christmas was her love.  The same kind of love we give a shut-in when we spend time with them.  The same kind of love we give when helping out someone less fortunate. The kind of love that can’t be bought, shipped, or wrapped.

It’s okay to start planning for next year.  It is even recommended that you prepare a proper budget.  Enjoy the journey of looking through the recommended Christmas stores.  It is all part of the season. Although these acts may be necessary and enjoyable, don’t expect them to aid you in finding the perfect gift.

The perfect gift at Christmas is usually not found by battling frantic crowds at the mall.  If we want to find that perfect gift, we need to connect with the heart of the recipient. Only then will we feel the true joy of giving – and experience a joy that may last a lifetime.

Bonnie Hooley, LIT

Bonnie has worked in the insolvency field since 1980. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, with a degree in Social Work. In 1999 she attained her license as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Bonnie has her Foundation Studies in Accounting from the Certified General Accountants (CGA). She is Read More Bonnie has worked in the insolvency field since 1980. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, with a degree in Social Work. In 1999 she attained her license as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Bonnie has her Foundation Studies in Accounting from the Certified General Accountants (CGA). She is a member of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP) and Past President of the Manitoba Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (MAIRP).Bonnie has served on various boards within her community. Her hobby is quilting, her passion is Christ. Close


Confidential Consultation with our Licensed Insolvency Trustee

    Contact Us

    Start getting out of debt today.