As the holiday season approaches and surrounds or overwhelms you wherever you go, you may be starting to think about the gifts that you want to give family members, friends, clients/customers, colleagues and contacts to celebrate them this holiday season. Before you walk into a store, access a website, tap or swipe a debit or credit card or part with a single dollar, get organized and follow this five-step plan for stress-free and successful holiday shopping and spending.
Step One is to decide on how much you want to spend and then make a commitment to stick to this amount or, even better, look for as many ways as you can to save money and finsh your shopping with money to spare. Step Two is to compile a complete personal contact list of family members and friends and a comprehensive professional contact list of clients/customers, colleagues and contacts. Step Three is to review each name on the list calmly and carefully and write down a notation beside each name. Indicate whether each individual will receive a signed greeting card, a handwritten card or letter by you or a carefully chosen gift or a gift card from you. Step Four is to write down beside the appropriate name the total amount that you want to spend on a gift or gift card. Remember to total up the amounts and ensure that you are within the budget that you set in Step One. Finally, Step Five is setting aside time each week for the next four weeks to write the cards and letters, shop for the gifts either on-line or in person and mail them or deliver them in person to their fortunate receivers.
You now have a plan that you can accomplish with ease, energy and enthusiasm. Before you begin, you may want to take a moment to review the list of people as well as their gifts and value one more time. As you read each name, ask yourself these questions: what is motivating me to purchase a gift for this individual? Am I motivated by guilt or gilt?
Here are some examples of professional situations that may cause you to be motivated by guilt in your gift giving: if you have had a disagreement with this individual; if you have failed to deliver the quality of work that was expected or it may have been late or over budget; or if you got a new position or were promoted instead of this individual. There are some examples of personal situations that may cause you to be motivated by guilt in your gift giving: if you have expressed anger or criticism to an individual; if you have had little or no time to spend with someone due to work or other priorities or commitments or if you feel that this person has had a difficult and eventful year while your year has been easy and uneventful. You may also find yourself as the receiver of a surprise gift from someone with whom you have a professional relationship and you feel the need to reciprocate.
Try to avoid the guilt of giving gifts and discover the gilt of giving gifts. Gilt is a thin layer of gold. What golden moments, experiences or memories can you share or create with family members and friends during the holiday season? What can you do to go that extra mile and show gratitude and generosity to your many valued and deserving clients/customers, colleagues or contacts? Adding some gilt to your gift giving could be showing up with an individual’s favourite cup of coffee or tea and a sweet treat on a cold and gloomy winter day. It may be making a date for lunch or coffee to start the new year in a productive and progressive way. Or it may be delivering a sincere handwritten note or sending a thoughtful e-mail expressing gratitude and sharing some positive thoughts about this person and how much you value working and doing business with them. Adding gilt to your gift giving should cost little or nothing in terms of money and instead involve a lot of creativity and authenticity.
You may want to consider choosing gilt over guilt in your gift giving this year.