Tied With a Bow

"I just like to smile. Smiling's my favorite."

In the wise words of Buddy the Elf, smiling is totally my favorite. However, according to my 13 and 14 year old brothers, apparently I have a lot of favorites. I have at least 3 favorite movies and 10 favorite books. Aka, I like many things, and one of those happens to be gift giving.

Whether for birthdays, holidays, or just because, picking out presents always makes me happy- sometimes even happier than the person receiving it. There's just something about getting to find something solely for another human being that causes my heart to smile. This Christmas, I hope to continue that tradition. So far, I've checked about 8 people off my list, but I still have more to go!

A few weeks ago, I was charged with the task of buying a Secret Santa gift for my friend Landon. As ABAC Ambassadors, we all picked a name out of a hat for whom we would buy. My quest had begun! Sure, I could buy him a gift card or something less personal, but where was the fun in that? I started by making notes of the things I know he likes. Music was a definite, and most specifically, John Mayer. After a by-chance purchase at a antique-type store in downtown Ocilla, plus some logging on to Amazon, I had found exactly what I wanted.

I ended up with a vintage 1940s book of children's songs and a digital print of some John Mayer lyrics in the shape of an old microphone. Better yet, a portion of the proceeds from the print went to keeping music education in schools for kids. I absolutely couldn't wait to give it to him, and he didn't disappoint on the reaction either. Landon loved it!

I think I most love giving specific gifts because I want the person to know how much they mean to me. Personally, of the "5 Love Languages" (http://www.5lovelanguages.com/), I feel the most loved through words of affirmation. I love being complemented and told how I am appreciated. I feel like through gift giving, I am able to do something quite similar. Through just the perfect present, I am able to show the people around me just how much they mean to me and who I am. I show them that I listen to them, that I understand them, and I want them to know how much I think about them. Gifts are my way of saying, "You are important to me."

While Christmas is known as the universal giving season, people also wonder why every year it seems to begin just a little earlier. I have a theory on that. Despite its sometimes hustle-and-bustle, Christmas allows people a reprieve from the rest of the year's events. Christmas time seems to defy the clock. Decorations go up, the trees come out, and everyone is happy. "From now on, our troubles will [truly] be miles away." And it's beautiful. Christmas time is beautiful. Our gift giving, inspired by the One Best Gift given all those years ago on a clear Bethlehem night, helps make the world a little bit better, if just for a month. I've never been certain why some people don't agree with that!

As for this year, when it comes to your gift giving and present buying and box wrapping, try and put just a little extra thought into it. If anything, start the way Buddy the Elf does.

"Hello. This is Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?"

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