Priorities are a funny thing. Gift giving has a lot to do with priorities in my book. I have learned about the way that I spend my time & money and where I hold my value in those areas. I have never been a "I have to have this right now" kind of person, but at the same time I enjoy when something is well researched and I know that what I am buying is something worthwhile and quality.
Researching for me is a three-fold win for me. It allows me to make educated decisions on what would be a wise purchase for me if it something that I am interested in purchasing, it allows me to offer advice to other people in the moment when they ask me about something I have knowledge about, and lastly it helps me more accurately learn what other people would be best served by, maybe before they even realize it. So when it comes to gift giving, money and time management, and the like, this makes for an interesting tension in my brain.
I enjoy giving gifts and meeting needs for people, but just buying "something" is something I feel like is against my religion. I just have such a hard time adding to the noise of someones life with a gift that is not well thought out. When something helps meet a need, simplifies something, helps organize, or is something they've truly wanted for a while, I feel like I have done my job as a gift giver. I would honestly rather give nothing than just something. But when it comes to Christmas, when I'm to by for people I really care about but don't get to see often, I feel like anything I get for them is a stab in the dark. I work hard to listen, to pay attention, to be keen to hints, but those are all just hopes in a lot of cases.
Being a good steward of what God has provided for me is something I don't take lightly. For me, anything I buy for myself now-a-days fits in one of three categories: It helps me do something better, or it is a need, or it comes out of my limited "fun money" category. Something better would be some needed software. A need would be a dependable car, food, a new pair of jeans each year. Fun money would be Starbucks, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Bucky Balls, or things of that nature.
I like giving people gifts that derive from the first two categories, but lately I've learned that sometimes people only like gifts from the fun category. Things that don't matter and are just fun. Kinda shifts my paradigm a little bit, because it's different than my way of thinking. I would just rather have something that allows me to function, live, or work better than just having something. However, I've learned some people just want "stuff".
I suppose to each his own, but it's showed me that (believe it or not) not everyone thinks through the same filter that I do. I'm learning to listen, and learning to prioritize. It's tough, but so necessary.