Revealing: What’s On Your Christmas List?

It’s a common question being asked today: What’s on your Christmas list?

The question is revealing long before an answer is given. Why? Because the question, itself, exposes us—the gift-giver. It tells us something about ourselves. When this question rolls off our lips it may convey one of the following things about us:

a)      We care enough to give a gift the recipient would enjoy receiving.

b)      We fear the wrath of the recipient if they don’t get the gift they want.

c)       We are so practical we see no need for the “surprise” element in gift-giving.

d)      We don’t know the recipient well enough to know what they want or need.

It’s the latter answer, (d), that has me thinking this Christmas season.

ChristmasGiftThe ability to give a gift that “fits” shows knowledge. It demonstrates that the gift-giver knows the recipient well enough to know what the recipient needs or would enjoy. When we have to ask for a list it may indicate that the relationship is weak.

If we are talking about a gift for the mail carrier or our dry cleaner, we shouldn’t be concerned that we don’t know them well enough to know what gift would be particularly meaningful.  But when it is a spouse, child or someone else we should know well, then there is an issue present.

A Problem in the Relationship

Not knowing what to give may reveal there is a problem in the relationship.  Perhaps we are to blame. We haven’t taken the time to get to know someone. Or worse, it may reveal we don’t care enough to get to know them. It may show we haven’t spent time with them or listened to them or paid attention to what is happening in their life.

On the other hand, it may say something about their lack of interaction with us. After all, we know it takes two people to develop a relationship. If someone will not let you into their life, then you can’t get to know them. If they keep their thoughts bottled up or keep their distance then it will be difficult to know them.

Next Christmas!

I confess I’ve had to ask “What’s on your list?” a few times over the past month. Sometimes it has been because I’m not as connected to someone as well as I desire. Perhaps it has been my fault and perhaps they have put up walls in the relationship. Regardless, I see the need to work on some key relationships so by the time Christmas rolls around next year I hope I won’t have to ask for a list.


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