We love to give gifts. We say thank you with a gift. We say I love you with a gift. We say have a happy day with a gift. We say sorry I have no time to give you any attention, but here's a gift with a gift. Sometimes, we even say you're welcome with a gift. Giving gifts is often more fun than receiving them--really. We love that anticipation of that wonderful moment of surprise and unexpected joy that your kind little action will bring to your friend's day! It's a great gift to US to give! During the winter holidays, we give gifts to friends and family and clients. And here is where things are starting to get way out of hand. Friends and family and clients are everyone we know. Holiday season gift giving is getting pricey and overwhelming. We keep reading in magazines that we should be giving gifts to our gardener, garbage man, hair stylist and mail carrier. Um, aren't we THEIR clients? Shouldn't they be sucking up to US? When is the client supposed to give to the "provider," and when is the "provider" supposed to thank the client? The rule ought to be: if you pay someone for a service, you are not "obligated" to give a gift to them. They are more in the gift-giver role, to thank you for using their services. If you really appreciate great service you have received over the year, by all means--give a gift of appreciation! ANYtime! Just last weekend, Karen's son generously tipped the "shaved ice guy" at the softball tournament, because he gave "the best shaved ice EVER, and nicely, too!" And that man was quite surprised! But, it just seems that when gifts are an obligation and expectation, they lose the joy in the giving and receiving.
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