The very word ?gift? reminds me of a story I had read when I was ten years old. It is the famous story by O.Henry, ?The Gift of the Magi?. It is one of O.Henry?s most celebrated stories. It depicts a strange incident in the life of a poor young couple. Both the husband and the wife part with their most precious treasures in order to give Christmas gifts to each other. It turns out that their sacrifices were made in vain. But the futility of their presents notwithstanding, their love grows deeper and makes them happier.

The ending of the story sums up the entire philosophy of the author behind giving Christmas gifts,

? The Magi, as you know, were wise men-wonderfully wise men-who bought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication? But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi?

Let not the blame of a consumerist taint deter you from giving and receiving the expression of love this Christmas.

Christmas gifts are beyond consumerism. Each one of us buys what we can afford and we are not loved more for gifting what is most expensive in the market. It is the spirit of gift giving that we have to upkeep. This is only possible if we conceive Christmas gifts as an expression of love than a way to flaunt our buying power. In 2 Corinthians 8:7-8 Paul is talking to the churches who gave him money as gifts to keep him in the ministry. He says

"Since you excel in so many ways?you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving. I am not saying you must do it, even though the other churches are eager to do it. This is one way to prove your love is real."

Christmas gifts are natural expressions of our love and gratefulness not only to each other but also to the Lord who gives us the happiness to celebrate festivities and bestows on us the power to be able to give something to others. It is a celebration of the ultimate gift that God gave us on Christmas- by gifting himself to us. So, how can we, whom he created, deny ourselves the pleasure of giving a part of ourselves to people we love and treasure Christmas gifts bring happiness, spread the message of love and strengthen the bonds of family and community.

Now that the relevance of giving and receiving Christmas gifts is apparent, let?s survey the attractive markets that abound with Christmas gifts and gift ideas. Remember that when you give a gift to someone, it is not only a reflection of your own personality but also a reflection of your understanding of the likings of the person you are giving the gift

to. When you give a gift, you indicate your desire of him or her being a part of your life always. You wish the association to grow and develop. The bottomline is that when you choose a Christmas gift for someone you love; choose a gift that will elicit a response ?Oh! This is exactly what I wanted?. Do not be misled by the illusion that the more expensive your gift, the better it will be appreciated. Small gifts that are a conveyor of deep feelings are often much more precious than expensive gifts. Convey to your children that the price of the gifts is not an indication of how much you love them. Explain to them the true spirit of Christmas. There are websites that are full of Christmas gift ideas with instructions, so that children can make Christmas gifts on their own. These hand made gifts not only help to bring out the creativity and individuality of your children, but also teach them the true essence of Christmas spirit- the true joy of giving.

The plethora of Christmas gifts available in the market is mind-boggling, especially to someone who is undecided about what to buy. Clothes, collectibles, electronics, jewelry, wines, cigars, toys and games for children, home accessories and gift baskets- you name it and it?s there. If it is for someone whom you can take a liberty with, there are some funny Christmas presents to tickle your funny bone, too.

For someone truly special, there are unique watches, elegant necklaces, stylish brooches and much more. When absolutely clueless and undecided about what you wish to buy, present a cheapgift certificate to give your loved one the freedom to choose what he or she wants for himself or herself. If you wish to avoid the crowds that throng the markets at Christmas time, sit in the comfort of your home and order online. The range of gifts that you find online is equally enticing as the range that you might find if you visit the shop yourself.

Most of us not only have to present personal gifts on Christmas, but also corporate gifts to people we have a professional relationship with. It often gets tougher to choose such gifts because the nature of the relationship often does not give us an opportunity to get familiar with the personal likes and dislikes of that person. For such gifts, there are ample corporate gift ideas available in the market. The sellers take great pains to ensure that the corporate

gifts are neutral in nature in that they have a universal appeal. Christmas gifts are a way of saying that we bless each other with happiness, prosperity, peace and goodwill. By giving gifts to each other, we propagate the message of love and peace to the entire community. So, like the Magi, let?s try to be ?wise? this Christmas season and spread love and happiness.