The Art of Gift Giving
The tradition of gift giving has woven itself into the fabric of most cultures and civilizations throughout time. In ancient Rome, the Latin word ‘donare’ was coined to designate this custom of giving a gift. The English language has welcomed this foreign word into the bosom of its vocabulary as ‘to donate.’
To donate incognito is the giving of a gift in its purest form. It means to give freely without expectation of benefit or reward or public acknowledgement.
Today it seems that we have lost this integrity of truly giving a gift as a one-way kindness, a pure gesture of the heart. And so we have settled for exchanging gifts. We draw names, in order to be more efficient about this business of kindness and generosity. It is still a friendly way to be, if we do not count and calculate, and set limits up or down.
But often it is just making a deal. We become traders. Exchanging a gift limits the spirit of the feast. Expectations and disappointments sneak in and pollute the noble custom of gift giving.
As I search for the gift that will complement your life, please do not measure my generosity. I promise I will not measure your gift should you give me one.
My joy of having the privilege of choosing a gift for you is your gift to me. The value of your gift to me is not how much it cost, but the precious fabric of the resolve in your heart to complement my life.
Let us recapture the true essence of ‘donare.’ If we learn this well, then perhaps some day soon we, as a nation, will give to others without expectation of return, no strings attached, since the joy of giving has its own reward, such as PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD ALL.
~ Hildegard Letbetter