The perfect gift?

One thing I’ve been thinking about is generosity–what it means to be generous, how to be generous.

It’s not just a matter of buying presents for people–though presents are important, too. I hate to shop, and I don’t much like to receive stuff myself, so I’m reluctant to give things to people. I’ve been trying to be better about giving gifts when appropriate, and also trying to figure out how to be generous in intangible ways.

Baltasar Gracian wrote, “The great art of giving consists in this: the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.”

A friend of mine told me about a gift she’d just received that’s a perfect example of this kind of generosity. Her friend told her, “For Christmas, I’m going to replace every burned-out lightbulb in your house.” And she did. She went around the house, took out every burned-out bulb, went to the hardware store to buy replacements, and put fresh bulbs in every empty socket.

Need to find the perfect gift? Change someone’s lightbulbs,” by Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project, January 8, 2007
Hat tip: Tyler Cowen

Posted in: Caught Our Eye

Post a Comment