To Gift, or Not To Gift?

To gift, or not gift?  That is the question.

When it comes to giving gifts at Christmas, I tend to overbuy for my loved ones. I want to give an abundance to my kids because we have the means to do so, but I don’t go ridiculously overboard. I simply enjoy spoiling them a little during this time of year. Why do I do this?

My dad was a coal miner so, yes, that makes me a coal miner’s daughter. We were not Loretta Lynn poor when I was growing up, but we were definitely not well-to-do. When I was in sixth grade, my dad got laid off from his job. Miners often went on strikes that were short-lived, but unfortunately, that time he ended up being laid off for over three years.

When my dad was out of work one Christmas, a family from our church brought us groceries.  The kids in that family were in Sunday school with my sister and I.  We were mortified when they brought us food because they now knew we were needy, if it wasn’t apparent already.  I tried to hide while they were at my home, pretending they wouldn’t know I lived there.  However, once the family left, I was so excited to look through all of the bags they had brought.  I was thrilled to be getting fresh oranges!  Because fruit is more expensive than chips or snack cakes, oranges were a luxury item we rarely had.  As embarrassing as it was to have peers bring us food during our time of need, it was truly appreciated.  

Cabbage Patch Kids were the hot ticket item for Christmas that year.  My sister and I unwrapped homemade Cabbage Patch Kids that Christmas morning. They definitely did not have a birth certificate or Xavier Roberts’ signature on the butt cheek like the originals, but they were fine dolls just the same.  We got Christmas presents each year even when my dad wasn’t working.  Maybe we didn’t get name-brand toys, but I never felt like we were deprived.  My parents saved up and pinched pennies to ensure Christmas morning was special for us (really, it was my mom, because dad had no idea what was going under the tree).

When it comes to giving, especially at Christmas, I choose giving every time because I can. Even though I was still a child when my family experienced financial hardship, I understand those who are struggling to make ends meet and how the oranges and Christmas presents are luxury items that can be hard to come by. Looking back, this period in my life helped mold me into who I am today. I am incredibly grateful for what I have, give generously to those in need when I am able, and am cognizant of how others feel when they are going through a similar experience. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”–Hebrews 13:16

So to gift or not to gift, there is no question.

3 thoughts on “To Gift, or Not To Gift?

  1. Great blog and how true. We are so blessed to be able to give back now. Our church family was so good to us, as was our families – the Shumans and the Darlings. They brought us food also.

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  2. Deanne – this post really moved me. With your honesty, you can never go wrong in what you are writing. Your story reminded me of something football legend Frank Gifford said once. He said one Sunday in church they took up a collection for a needy family. To his surprise, the collection was given to his family at Christmas because they were so poor, yet he didn’t realize how poor they were as a child. He talked about the same sort of feelings you had knowing that the other kids now knew. Your story emphasizes that we don’t know what our neighbors, colleagues, friends, etc., are truly going through or dealing with. And to always, always show God’s love and be merciful. Thank you so much for your honesty in this story!

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