“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
This past week, one of my co-workers brought in some gifts for the office. Now, most office exchanges will range from a Secret Santa arrangement to a white elephant get together to buying gift cards for everyone. Truthfully, we participate in none of that.
As several of us sat in the office, he told us the story that led to his purchase of our special gifts. He was in the dollar store with his girlfriend when she asked if he had gotten anything for people at work. He said that he had not, and she then mentioned that he should get us something. He then proceeded to tell her a little bit about each person, which led to what must have amounted to a scavenger hunt around the dollar store to find our “perfect” gifts.
All told, he had purchased an individualized and unique gift for everyone in the office for what he said was a grand total of eight dollars. A magic towel in the shape of a baseball for me, a clock necklace for a time conscientious colleague, a candle for another, a rock star door hang for the music lover, a jumping frog desk game for another, a pair of pink slippers for one who loves to kick off her heels, and a film strip picture frame with pictures of the deer he finally tagged for another.
I’m certain that these gifts were not the most extravagant that any of us received throughout the holiday season. But, they were no doubt among the most special. It became such a fun moment for each of us to talk about, and the looks of excitement and anticipation on everyone’s faces as we watched others receive their gifts truly embodied the spirit of the season.
This thoughtful gesture reminded me that giving did not need to be about buying gifts for the sake of buying them. It was about giving from the heart whether you spend a single dollar or a hundred dollars. Prior to Thursday, I found myself a few times saying that I spent too much money on Christmas presents.
However, as I watched my family, Lauren, and her family open their gifts and be truly appreciative, I thought a lot about my co-worker’s small gesture. It was not about the money, and it really was not about the gift. It was the act of giving something from the heart that made me feel rich beyond belief.
As we move forward from the Christmas season, the spirit tends to drift away, and people tend to move back towards thoughts of themselves over others. I challenge you to remember that we can and should always be in the giving spirit. It does not cost much or anything really. We can give our time, our energy, or our money.
What matters is that we think from the heart to lift people up and put their needs before our own. While we may have to sacrifice a little bit of our precious time, energy, or money, the riches you gain from the gratitude and appreciation of others will far outweigh any perceived costs, even those as little as eight dollars.
Bring your best today!