Are We An Over-Gifting Culture?

Over Gifting

I’m almost 100% positive I’ll get some pretty good flack for this post, but it’s something I feel strongly about…so here we go.

Why is it everything, every event, every special day includes the expectations of receiving a gift?

  • Mother’s Day = Gift
  • Valentine’s Day = Gift
  • Easter = Gift
  • Christmas = too many Gifts
  • Birth of a Child = Push Present (What the hell is that anyway?)

I’m TIRED of it.

I will tell my readers something that may shock them.  I didn’t get my wife a gift for Mother’s day, and I certainly don’t expect one for Father’s day.  I also didn’t have to deal with the stress, anxiety, and expectations of choosing the “right gift” for the day.

Does this mean I think less of the men that did purchase a gift?  Absolutely not.  It’s their choice.  Let me tell you how I arrived at mine.

Those close to my wife and I will know we waited a long time to receive the gift of starting a family.   To say it was a struggle for us to join the parenthood klan would be a bit of an understatement.  When July 30th arrived last year and our son appeared a couple weeks early of his due date, we received the gift we’d been waiting years for.  A baby.  A family.  He went unnamed for a few early morning hours, but it wasn’t long until we introduced Landon Ray Keeney to the world.  A true blessing.  A gift in every sense of the word welcomed by his overjoyed Mom and Dad.

This year, when Mother’s day came calling I was really struggling with what I could do to tell my wife how much Landon and I appreciated her as a Mom.  I almost started laughing at the idea of buying: jewelry, a purse, a spa day, flowers, etc to show her how much we cared.  Did this really reflect all we’d been through to celebrate this wonderful day?  The answer was a resounding, “NO.”

I went looking for inspiration.

I went back into my email and found a recording from Dec. 4, 2013.  What was this recording?  It was a call from a fertility nurse at the hospital notifying my wife and I that “we were pregnant!”  Imagine two adults, sitting in complete silence, huddling over a phone in our living room hanging on every word

It worked!

All the stress, doctors visits, unexplained “bad luck”, medications, and everything that went with it, suddenly didn’t matter anymore.  Our dreams were coming true.  I hope to never forget or lack appreciation for the strong range of emotions we experienced in that moment.

I decided the Mother’s Day gift that best described what I was feeling, was to tell my wife, exactly what I was feeling with all of those bottled up emotions.  I wrote her a letter for Mother’s Day.  I expressed my feelings and all of the pain and stress we went through to be celebrating this wonderful day.

I specifically told her, if she wanted a “thing” (purse, jewelry, shoes, clothes, etc) I hoped she knew she could buy them any day of the year.  She certainly earned it.  What I wanted more than anything for us was to never forget just how great a blessing we received in the wee morning hours of July 30th.

What I really want this post to deliver is perspective.  I’ve written before about my personal pursuit in life for fewer things and “stuffitis” in favor of more life experiences and authentic appreciation.  This includes any and all “Hallmark Holidays” and empty gifts.

Instead I’m going to try and fill these days with more appreciation for the present and not the presents.

ACTION ITEM: I’d love to know how you feel about this.



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2 thoughts on “Are We An Over-Gifting Culture?

  1. Zac, you have wisdom beyond your years. Thank you for such awesome perspective. Blessings to you and your family!

    • Thank you for continuing to read Juan and for the kind words! It means a tremendous amount to me.

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