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Gifts and Goodwill

December 17, 2010

My boyfriend and I made a quick stop by Goodwill tonight, on the lookout for a few winter clothes. As we waited in the checkout line, I noticed a set of big plastic trucks lined up on the counter, along with a pair of boxing gloves. A dad stood in his work uniform, waiting to purchase them, and he looked at a few other things behind the glass in the meantime–a Leap Pad and some type of karaoke microphone that was still in the packaging. I was touched, realizing that this man was probably buying Christmas gifts for his children.

Peace & Joy, created with Goodwill finds--found in our Goodwill Hunting group on flickr

I know that the holidays mean something different to each and every one of us, but seeing this man was a reminder of what it means to me–of bringing joy to those we love, of finding ways to show our appreciation for all the things they do and are to us all year long. And for me, gift-giving is part of that–picking out or making the perfect thing that will resonate with meaning for that person.

This is exactly what that dad was doing, but it wasn’t in a mall, some big box store, or an online shop; it was at Goodwill. His shopping wasn’t about anything–the latest trend or gadget, scoping out deals, or the accumulation of things. He was just shopping for his children, finding simple things that would bring them joy, carrying nothing but love and intention around in his shopping cart.

A meaningful and heartfelt gift doesn’t have to be the one with the highest price tag, and with the hard times that many of us are facing, it’s a better time than any to find some of your gifts at Goodwill. You can find things that are still in their boxes or with their tags; other things look like they’ve never been used. And oftentimes, it’s better that something isn’t bright, shiny, and new. Don’t you have that friend who loves antiques or a unique vintage find?

In a time where so many of the things we do run on automatic, I invite you to take a moment to think about what drives your gift purchases. Perhaps your local thrift store could give you the chance to do a little goodwill and cheer unto others in a more meaningful way this season. I love the idea of using what’s already out there for gift giving. I think that expresses a gratefulness far beyond that between the giver and the recipient.

It is an acknowledgment of the abundance of life, of the things that have already been given to all of us, and a way of saying, “This is enough. I am thankful.”

-Amanda Aileen Fisher

Stop by our Contributors page for more about Amanda, or read her other posts here.


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