Before Returning The Gift: A Message From A Reformed Return Queen

Tears of bewildered surprise came to her eyes the moment she laid eyes on the matte black bag donning an orange

San Francisco Giants logo below the looped handles. Based on the scream of excitement and arms flying about I’m certain of two things: My niece’s heart began racing the moment the least expected became a possibility and that her new Buster Posey shirt is second skin on this loyal tween. Hearts surge when deep desires are unexpectedly met, but not all of us have had this experience.

Money was tight for our family growing up and receiving clothes as Christmas and birthday gifts was a blessing. Unfortunately my grandma wasn’t in touch with current trends and inevitably we would become recipients of the ugly sweater’s cousins, the kind you cannot return. You know what I’m talking about.

Gift-returnThen I became a return queen, oh yeah! You paid full price and I’m exchanging it after the hubbub and walking away with a wardrobe because prices have been slashed. Reinvesting the gift, as I had myself believe, felt like a victory. I had taken a generous gesture and made it into the ultimate gift. We don’t always see the full implications of our actions. For my husband, this is the first year he hasn’t received a thread of clothing because everyone knows what will happen…maybe you’ve scared off the gift givers in your life too?

The energy exerted while parenting is payment for the wisdom gained. Regarding receiving gifts, I am getting learned up. Holding a gift is now like finding a hidden treasure. Would I return an unearthed treasure? Nope. Admittedly, some of these gems are better than others, but there’s something magnificent about each that leads a minimalist like me to cherish each, especially those from family we’re expected to be close with but aren’t.

No matter how fractured and distant the relationship may be, there are three truths about all gifts to consider before rushing to the return line.

  1. You were thought of. I can’t help but laugh, because some of us are thought of as just another person to check off the obligatory gift list. Park on that for a moment and celebrate the fact you made the list! Even if you’re on the outs, even if the gift was a bit of a rub, you were considered. There are people living life completely solo, unknown by others and disregarded in every way.
  2. Time & Energy. Some things money can’t buy. The gift you received required the giver to invest personal time and energy. It may have been five minutes on the computer or hours of going store to store to obtain followed by waiting in line at the post office to ship it and ensure a timely arrival. All this for you.
  3. Money. Do you have enough? Money is typically something people want and need more of. Someone was willing to spend money, their money that could have been spent a million other ways, on y.o.u.? Enough for a latte or a plane ticket, they chose to spend their hard earned or fixed monthly allowance on you. Are you grateful?

I find myself amazed that people are willing to invest their resources into me. Some of my family relationships have much room for improvement but even as obligatory as the gesture of a Christmas gift seems, they chose me and someone chose you. Before you invest your time and energy into returning a gift, consider keeping it as a reminder- you are thought of and considered worthy of investing in. The next time you see a friend wearing the ugly sweater’s cousin, stop and consider how deep the love runs.

Chasing Faith: This reminds me of the ultimate gift giver. Betrayed by His creation, He constantly invests all resources into drawing willing hearts towards Him. To bridge the holiness gap His Son was willing to give the ultimate gift hoping everyone would receive it. Though it can be rejected, and often is, it can never returned. One of the beautiful things about this treasure is that it’s not only safe to re-gift, but the pure love this gift cultivates in a receivers heart changes the world. Have you received this gift?

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