In my previous post, I talked about my rather new-ish philosophy of giving — one that takes the people into account, the precious nature of memories, and that is sustainable for this big beautiful planet we call home. Emphasizing experiences over things, senses over possession.
What I didn’t mention is that my husband does not share this philosophy.
At least, not explicitly. (He doesn’t even really know I have a gift-giving philosophy!)
One of my husband’s most expressive love languages is giving gifts. He loves to give gifts, and he’s really, really good at it. He’s picked out clothes, bags, wines, books, jewelry, all manner of sweet and perfectly “Jana” things to give me over the years. I feel very fortunate. I love his generosity and his desire to give people something they love.
But this does conflict a bit with my desire to align my gift giving (and gift receiving) with certain principles.
But the thing is, those are my principles. Not his.
I want to live by my best principles and I want a marriage in which those principles are shared and pursued together, but I also want my husband to live by his principles and to be able to share and show love the way he wants, the way he’s best at sharing and showing it. I may talk about what I’m planning to give certain people and why, but I never want to tell him what he should do when he’s purchasing gifts.
That means that I need to be comfortable with getting “things”! He loves giving things, and again, he’s really, really good at it. I need to set aside my moments of angst when I think we can’t possible fit another thing into our tiny space and thank him sincerely for the gifts he has given me to enrich my life. If anything, those should be opportunities for me to see what I can replace, throw away, or give away. But again, that secondary effort is on me; not him.
And honestly? This view fills me with joy and childlike giddiness. So I do love presents.
This might seem a rather frivolous or unnecessarily introspective point (conflicting philosophies about gift-giving? Really?), but I think there’s a deeper point here that is important for me to grasp. We all have and show generosity in different ways. Generosity is sincerely expressed in different ways. I want to be open to receiving it as best and sincerely as I can from my loved ones, however they choose to show it, and I want to give them the opportunity to give as they wish. I also want to be principled about my gift-giving, even if those principles are not shared. Loving and let others love us the way they love best is a nice, warm, inclusive way to enter into a holiday season fraught with overconsumption and materialism.