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The Real Gift is Joy

With circulars touting TVs for rock-bottom prices, games and toys that children absolutely must have, and many items that shoppers didn't know they needed until they saw them, it’s easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in the consumerism of the holidays. It's even easier to lose sight of one of the greatest gifts that you can give – joy.

In our consumer culture, it can take effort to overcome the onslaught of ads and pressure to buy certain things or spend a certain amount during the holidays. I've met people who thought that only a $50 gift (or more) was “appropriate.” Bah humbug. I say it's not about the cost -- it's about the thought. Gifts can be bought or made. They can be small, but meaningful. They can be inexpensive, but mean the world to the receiver.

The real value reveals itself in the moment that you hand someone a present: To you, from me, and I picked it just for you. That usually brings a smile to the recipient's face. It’s nice to be remembered on a birthday or a holiday, and for kids, it’s fun to get a toy to play with -- especially if they don’t have many.

Gift givers may think they’re giving something tangible but in reality, they’re giving something even better, something magical -- they're giving the gift of joy, to the receiver and themselves. 

What's the value of that? It's priceless.

Author: Tara Lynn Johnson, Philadelphia-region freelance writer and joyful gift-giver.