The Gift of Giving

Give yourself the gift of rethinking gift giving, writes Sara Kate Gillingham. Reconnect with love and generosity and the rest will fall into place.

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When I was five my parents added a second story onto our house in Los Angeles. That Christmas our place was a construction site, but the holidays were still on full-steam.

I remember feeling something new that year: the desire to give gifts. So one morning I crept up the plywood framed stairs to the second floor, where the only roof was a tarp flapping in the Santa Ana winds. There I collected little triangular cast-offs from two-by-fours and the quarter-sized steel punch-outs from electrical outlet boxes, and with Elmer’s glue and a few crayons I transformed these bits of construction trash into sculptural gifts for my family.

A few things stand out for me about this memory. The idea came spontaneously and from a desire, rather than an obligation, to give. The gifts were handmade. They cost me nothing. The experience was in itself a gift: I became aware, at such a young age, of how my body and my heart felt as I made and gave gifts to people I cared about. I felt uplifted. The recipients felt this spirit too—it was a sincere expression of love.

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