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Perspective: Gift giving and the supply chain drama

Jess Bailey

We’re a week past Thanksgiving and despite all the pre-holiday supply chain fear mongering, I saw plenty of turkeys left in freezer cases this past weekend. But legitimate concerns about the availability of other merchandise do exist. Earlier this week, the President met with retailers to address supply chain woes and try to ensure that gifts, not just gift cards, can be wrapped and ready for gifting on whatever winter holiday we celebrate. Sounded like something of a Santa Summit, I suppose.

Beyond supply chain worries, there can be way too much pressure concerning gift giving. Fear of buying the “wrong gift” can sometimes guarantee that we do. At their essence, gifts are simply symbolic tokens used to forge or strengthen relationships. It isn’t just the present that holds value, it’s the meaning of the exchange that holds significance.

In fact, research shows that when it comes to choosing the “perfect gift,” it’s not the gift, but the experience attached to the gift, that makes it feel “perfect.” As cheesy as it sounds, it really is the thought behind the gift and the circumstances in which it is given that matter most.

The best gifts are those that reflect what your recipient values, not the cash value of the gift. Time together, shared adventures, and items that speak to the uniqueness of your recipient will be presents that are remembered long after the day they were received.

More important than the “what” of the gift, are the “why,” the “where,” the “when,” and the “how.” So don’t sweat the supply chain issue. Giving from your heart is the key to showing someone just how much you care.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education