3 ways to add joy to gift-giving this year

3 ways to add joy to gift-giving this year

Unless you’re a Scrooge, you probably enjoy the gift giving that occurs at this time of year.

But even the most altruistic among us sometimes question their own motives when thumbing through their Christmas lists.

“Giving and receiving gifts can become stressful and negatively affect our holiday spirit,” says Marie Mauter, a licensed clinical social worker and employee assistance program counselor at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.

To avoid the anxiety, take a step back and consider why you are giving a gift and whether you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Are you giving to gain control of a relationship, such as giving an expensive gift to gain leverage with someone, Mauter explains.

Maybe you’re trying to relieve your conscience and you’re buying presents out of a sense of guilt, even selecting items that are breaking your budget.

“Perhaps you’re working long hours and trying to make up for this by overspending on the family,” she says.

This year, resolve to give gifts for the right reasons. Mauter offers these three suggestions for ways to bring more joy to the process:

  1. Limit gift-giving to children
  2. When asked, be honest about what you would like to receive. It may provide an opportunity to get to know one another better by opening lines of communication
  3. Give freely out of love and gratitude, with no ulterior motive or strings attached

“By practicing these acts, we may end up saving money and feeling happier and more connected with each other during the holidays,” Mauter says.

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About the Author

Kathleen Troher
Kathleen Troher

Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.