Do You Need a Gift Receipt With That?

One of my love languages is receiving gifts. I love gifts not because I’m a material girl but because I appreciate the love, effort and thoughtfulness that goes into a well-planned gift. Some of the best gifts I’ve received over the years have been the ones that let me know that the giver knows me – beautiful notecards I would never spend the money to buy for myself, a book by a favorite author, a piece of dark chocolate with almonds, a pretty pair of earrings, a fabulous scarf that is really, really almost the color red.

I try to be a gracious receiver of these gifts, these expressions of love and care for me. It has not been easy because it has meant dealing with the voice – that stupid voice inside my head that says, “Kathy, you’re not worth that person’s love. You’re not worth the paper those cards are made of. You’re not worth the words written in that book. That piece of chocolate will only make you want another piece of chocolate. The money spent on those earrings could provide food for the food bank, and you are too vain to be wearing a fabulous scarf like that.”

I know. It’s crazy.

What’s crazier is that because I have such a hard time receiving gifts I become absolutely paralyzed when it comes to giving myself a gift, a little treat, a little something something. I have talked myself out of buying things that I actually need – socks, moisturizer (no, you really do need moisturizer), a notebook. It really is a song and dance in my head because as one who enjoys shopping just to see what’s out there I also know that while those lies are lies they are powerful. The lies that try to keep me in my place by telling me that I am undeserving and utterly selfish are just as strong as the lies that tell me that cute little something something will fulfill me.

Yup. Still crazy.

Through the years I have returned many, many thoughtful gifts from my husband. My mother used to tell me that I had better stop doing that or he will just stop giving me gifts out of exhaustion and a feeling of failure. The thing is that I would return those gifts because I didn’t feel deserving of his love through his gifts.

Jesus has helped silence those lies, just like he silenced the many demons he cast out during his crazy 30s. He tells those lies to be silent, and in their place he reminds me that his grace is sufficient and his love for me is what flows out. He reminds me that my husband and my friends love me, and their gifts do not need to be returned. No gift receipt necessary. (Unless, of course, the gift doesn’t fit. Honey, that ring really didn’t fit.)

So, do you like receiving gifts or giving gifts? What is the best gift you have ever received or given?

And how about this…for posting a comment in response to this post, one lucky winner will receive a gift from me and the good folks at The owners of this internet bag/purse company contacted me earlier this month about “advertising” on my blog in exchange for a free purse. Honestly, I had to go a round with those stupid lies, which this time included thoughts like “sell-out” and “greedy”. And after coming to peace and joy with the fact that this little blog has become a little more than a group of two people (me and Peter) reading it and marveling over my wittiness, I wanted to receive the gift and give one as well.

So, share with me and the other readers of MTST about the best gift you ever received or gave and why that gift was the best, and one lucky commenter will be selected randomly and receive this cute bag (monogrammed if you’d like) courtesy of

It's simply called "The Summer Tote" is giving one of my readers this bag because I like to drive a hard bargain!

Comments will remain open, but if you want to win your comment has to be posted by May 5, 8 a.m. CST. And it’s ok if you’re a first-time commenter, long-time reader and you’re commenting just because this bag is so cute and you want to win.

The giveaway is now over. Drum roll…the random number generator picked…Shirley! Thanks to all who commented off- and on-line. You all are a a gift to to me!


  1. pepy3 April 30, 2010

    I am low maintenance. We’ve been so low maintenance over the years (ministry poor, kids need necessities before we need gifts, etc). There’s always that lurking feeling that a gift for me means I didn’t do something that was a real need for someone else in our family. Gifts usually have been: getting to go visit family, a small vacation, going out to dinner, etc.

    How timely, though, that just recently I felt the best gift ever was my kids finishing college. It has been something I’ve wanted. Truly, a treasure for me.

  2. Una April 30, 2010

    I’ve sitting here for 5 or so minutes thinking of “my favorite gift.” Instead of thinking of that one-perfect-gift, I’ve thought of the many gifts given to me that expressed thoughtfulness, love and celebration.

    One of my favorite gifts is a coffee/creamer set given to me by my nephew when he was 5 or 6 years old. He learned that I had just moved into my own place and he told my brother, “she needs this for her new place.” The set is not my style at all. But, I love it because my nephew went shopping, saw it, considered my new situation and picked it out for me. This same nephew also knit a small scarf that he then put on a teddy bear as a Christmas present for me. That was the first and last thing he ever knit. As you can see, my nephew is a great gift!

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • Stephanie April 30, 2010

      I’m a big gift-giver, I think, because I lack the eloquence to express my love for others in words. However, I am not the best gift-receiver. I definitely relate to all the things you’ve posted on your blog about receiving gifts, especially the sense of lack of worth. I can’t begin to explain how difficult it was to sift through the countless gifts I’d received by people who loved me over the years to try and pick one gift. In the end, it was a gift given to me by total strangers.

      The best gift I received was acceptance into my university’s President’s Scholar Program. Each year, anywhere between 10-25 students are selected to receive the amazing benefits this program has to offer– a four-year, full-tuition scholarship, an annual stipend for textbooks and supplies, free parking permits, a laptop, priority registration, and a recommendation letter for graduate school signed by the president of our university. The year I applied, I was one of twelve applicants selected from over 400 students to be invited into the program. The two conditions to continually be a member of the President’s Scholars program is that I maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and participate in one community service activity once a semester. The funding for this program comes from the pockets of those in our community, many whom I don’t even know, who value higher education and contribute to it financially; not a single penny is taken from the state or federal government. Ultimately, I know that this was a gift from God, one that eased the burden of college tuition on my parents. I would definitely have to say that it is one of the best gifts, if not the best, that I’ve received in the past four years.

  3. mark May 2, 2010

    I have had a hard time with the gift recieving thing. For the longest time my family would give me a birthday/xmass… giftthat was just out of left field. I know they love me and I always try to be greatful. I must be honest here, I think a gift should reflect how well we know a persons needs. Especialy a family member, so when I get the big green and white striped cotton sweater w/ white slacks, I think what is this gift about????. Of course I thank my mother, but it makes me wonder. Does she not like my style? did she think that I should dress like a sailor???. I know she meant well, but those clothes only were worn for her benefit, It did not make me feel good. I could not give them away or … they sit in a storage box.

    I’ve told my family that I don’t want them to spend money on me, to save it for the kids, (nephews & nieces…). Come, lets get together for a birthday/xmass dinner…, let us spend time together so we can really, really know one another. They don’t call or take the time to find out how I’m doing or read my blogs. I’ve tried to share with them who I am, so when a true inspiration hits them in the form of agift… can mean something of shared value. After 45 years of this dysfunctual gift giving I am of the belief that they only want to see me the way they want me to be and not the way I am. I don’t want to be a downer here, but I think a lot of people share a similar disconnect with the people they are meant to be closest to.

    I think a gift card to home depot, when I’m a contractor says you don’t know me too well. Its like giving the wife a new clothes dryer for her birthday, its just not right. A gift says I like who you are, that I want you to have a new set of strings for your guitar, not a chord book after I have played for 36 years. My sister came to my 40th B-day party with a bench she bought around the corner from my house, it was easy/cheap and took no prior thought or knowing. ITsits on the front porch with the swinging bench and custom teak bench I built from the yankee workshop tv show with Norm… I am a master carpenter though she doesn’t know me that well. The fallowing x-mass she sent me a foe tiffany lamp that didn’t work, she was trying. I just had to scratch my head, and rewired the lamp, it was brand new????

    My brother made a strange admition this past January, that some 5 years ago he had come to understand that he had abandoned me. Two days latter I recieved a book On forgivness from him. As if I didn’t know what forgivness was. He surely wanted something from me needed something from me. I would love to have a dialog with him though he won’t talk about it any further. Am I missing somthing here? I mean really can you tell me…? I am at a total loss here.

    The best gift I ever recieved is from my wife, 16 years of marriage. She takes such good care of me and I her. When I’m sick she is healing…. When my work slows she earn enough to cover our short falls… I would love to give her a trip for all her hard work and support, but we just can’t aford it right now. I know that is what she really wants and need/deserves. In time I will take her some place special. I’m talking about love here. I never recieved a gift from father, outside of my life. I am a good person that has a hard time with the whole gift experience, I feel like I have been forced to to be greatful for things that take the place of good graces.

    Please, give that bag to someone who truely needs it.

  4. Leigh May 2, 2010

    I love giving gifts! I put a lot of time and thought into it and try to add personal touches wherever I can. For instance, I had my cousin’s name for Christmas one year, bought him a box of shooting clays (one of his favorite pastimes, for some odd reason) and then drew a picture of Bambi with a caption that said “better these than Bambi.” He got an absolute kick out of it! I also make an annual mix CD for my friends that everyone looks forward to.

    The best gifts I’ve ever received…an easel from my brother, a trip to Asheville, SC with my mom for my 30th birthday, a Canon Rebel from my parents, White Sox-related gifts from friends. I feel so cherished when a gift clearly shows that a person has noticed the things I love or has paid attention to my dreams.

  5. tja May 4, 2010

    I liked receiving gifts less when I thought that they were supposed to reflect people’s understanding of my needs. I’ve come to realize how hard it can be to know someone from far away, though, and just in general, so I try now to appreciate the thought that someone thinks I matter enough in someway to take the effort, time, and money to get me something. The thing isn’t what matters, it’s the act. I also think that someone wanting to share something that they like with me also shows that, whatever other motives they may have, they want to have some involvement with me. More often than not, I appreciate this sentiment.

    I do like giving gifts, but I guess I do it less frequently because I’m bad at just sending something without expressing true feelings or without knowing that it is something that someone will like. I’ve been holding onto a package for months that I want to send my niece and nephew because I haven’t been able to write a satisfactory note to go with it.

  6. Julie Rogers May 4, 2010

    I love to give gifts. I watch for the “perfect” gift for Christmas or birthdays all year long. I may even buy a gift the day after an event if it’s the perfect item.

    As for my best gift, for my 40th birthday, my son, daughter and husband found and framed a picture of me as a baby with my mom and grandma proudly looking at me. It’s even more poignant because my mom died the previous year. I always look at it and smile because it never stops reminding me of my mom and of my family.

  7. Shirley Chan Hou May 4, 2010

    Since I am not a gift receiving or gift giving person, I asked Jason for a date for Mother’s Day. Our love language is quality time.

  8. Kathy May 10, 2010

    I love giving gifts! As you know. (= It’s definitely my top love language.

    I also enjoy receiving gifts. I don’t like receiving gifts for the sake of someone feeling like they have to give a gift (although this may not be true if the gift is cash!). Anything that shows thought though, I really enjoy receiving.

    In terms of best gifts… being treated to a nice meal is probably the best category of gifts I’ve received. And these personalized maps of Boston & MA was probably the most thoughtful physical gift I have ever received. It was Dan’s first gift to me. (=


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