Gifts from the Heart, Not the Wallet

by David Bakke

gifts from the heartThis post, as most of mine, is about some kind of way to impact your personal finances. However, depending on how you decide to put it to use, it may end up having the added benefit of improving your marriage, bringing you closer to your children, winning over a partner, and so on.

If you’d like to ease the holiday burden on your wallet, trying giving some gifts of the heart, and not gifts from the wallet. Personally, I am famous for running out and getting a gift card for just about any occasion to give as a gift. This is normally fine, but as you can imagine, not the most heartfelt thing in the world. But don’t get me wrong, gift cards are effective when used in the right setting, and in my opinion, I think people love them.

But we’re not here to talk about gift cards. What I am talking about is a gift from the heart. Now, depending on what your talents may be, this could translate into a variety of things. If cooking is your thing, maybe it could be a home-cooked meal or a dessert or something. If you are into handcrafts, something along those lines. I think you get my point.

With me, what I have found to be the greatest gift of all is time. Namely, my time. Jim Rohn once said, “Time is more valuable than money” and he was right on point.

I will give you two examples. My son and my wife. I could buy my son $5000 worth of gifts this Christmas, and I can almost guarantee you that within a few days, he will have gotten his use out of most of those things, and will be ready to move on to the next “new” toy. Not that he didn’t enjoy them, but the enjoyment was fleeting. Over in a matter of minutes, or maybe hours. At most, a few days.

However, when I give him the gift of time, he remembers it maybe not forever, but for an eternity longer than the toys. I’ll give you a perfect example. We just returned from a vacation to see my parents for Thanksgiving. Of course, he is usually the star of the show on these trips. My parents don’t get to see him very often, and neither do all his aunts and uncles and cousins, who all live near my parents. So, obviously, his daily routine is radically different than when he is home with his Mom and Dad. And his “play time” with Daddy is severely cut into during these trips. I always knew this, but just assumed he liked just as much these vacations.

Well, the other nite, after our first day back from vacation together, of course, I was exhausted after a day of playing with him (he’s going on 3). So I just made some off-handed remark that today was the first day in awhile that we got to play together the whole day. My son stopped, looked at me, and said “Yep, the first time in a looooonnnnnnggggg time that we got to play together all day.” Well, this was a big enough sentence in itself for my son, and it literally stopped me in my tracks. He then gave me a big hug. That moment will stick with me for a long time. Your kids will love getting toys from Santa this Christmas, I promise you, but they’ll enjoy and remember the time that you give them for a lot longer.

And briefly, the same is true with my wife. I am horrible at picking out gifts for her, and have almost given up the charade. Our lives are both insanely busy these days, so I know that the gift of time will mean much more to her. Of course I still try to pick things out for her, but I know that she enjoys an evening on the couch sipping some wine and watching a movie much more than any sweater or scarf or perfume.

This concept doesn’t just apply to time. I am just saying that gifts from the heart serve a dual purpose. Obviously they are easier on your wallet, but the memories they will give out will last forever.

{ 8 comments }

1 Ken December 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Well put. The most meaningful gifts we can give to those we love is time and attention. These things can become scarcities if we let ourselves lose focus of our priorities. Thanks for the reminder.

2 Amanda December 5, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I agree. I’m giving my godparents and neighbours sloe gin and sloe jelly this year, which I made earlier in the autumn.

3 David/Yourfinances101 December 6, 2009 at 4:11 am

Ken,

Thnaks for stopping by and thanks for the comment!

4 David/Yourfinances101 December 6, 2009 at 4:12 am

Amanda,

That stuff sounds grerat–wanna send me some?

Thanks for the comment
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Gifts from the Heart, Not the Wallet =-.

5 Jackie December 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I couldn’t agree more. My favorite gifts to receive are when people will do things with me or for me. In the first case I get to enjoy spending time with them, and in the second case I get to have some time freed up in my schedule.
.-= Jackie´s last blog ..Inspire Your Soul to Act =-.

6 David/Yourfinances101 December 10, 2009 at 3:33 am

You’re absolutely right Jackie–thanks for posting your comment.
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..College Textbooks: Don’t Get Taken For a Ride =-.

7 Wojciech Kulicki December 16, 2009 at 3:56 am

What a wonderful personal story–I can’t wait to share those moments with my own son as well. We’ve all gotten so far away from the spirit of Christmas that we forget the most important purpose of holidays CAN be being able to spend time with your family.

I liked this post very much.
.-= Wojciech Kulicki´s last blog ..A Personal Finance Reading List =-.

8 David/Yourfinances101 December 16, 2009 at 4:02 am

You hit the nail ont he head!

Thanks for the comment
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..A “Don’t Be A Mule” Moment-Health Insurance =-.

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