She asked me to learn keyboard one day and the other day challenged me to prepare her favourite meal. She wanted my kiddo to dance with her yet another day. While this was annoying at times, yet she was always there with a bagful of things that will keep our minds engaged. We never felt as if we were home arrested because we did not get time even to ponder about the pandemic. It was she who made me realize that there is so much to do at home. Otherwise, my home was locked most of the times while I and my daughter were busy outdoors having fun socializing. When the lockdown was eased, I decided to express gratitude to her unwavering efforts with a gift. And my sister loved it, of course!

When we focus too much on the problems, the solution becomes a blur, so said, my grandmother. On the announcement of complete lockdown across the globe, I felt as if the entire earth had become stagnant. But there were so many people out there, who decided to do something rather than accept the situation as it is. One of the residents of our apartment asked all the kids to play musical instruments from the balconies every evening at 6 pm. Kids used to look forward to this noisy jam. My aunt started telling stories to the elderly through zoom application and this jig was super hit. And then there were others like my sister who checked on their loved ones and kept them engaged.

How to express gratitude to such people

People all over the world came forward with ideas to spread cheer around. And this kept hope alive in beings. A person does not indulge in selfless acts just like that. Such people have seen miseries up close and hence, they very well understand the emotions associated with the same. To make the world a better place to live in, we should extend help and express gratitude to people who were there for us during the challenging times. While many things can be done, a simple call is enough at times. And for all those for whom it is possible, an easy way is it to send a gift expressing ‘thank you’. Fresh flowers, homemade delicacies or online gifts can bring an instant smile on the face of people. And the best feeling in the world is to make someone happy. And one of the ways of spreading happiness is selfless gifting.

The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate – Oprah Winfrey

Gifting is a celebration in itself

Who does not like getting gifts! Gifts give a sense of pleasure to children and adults alike, to the rich and the poor equally and to the giver and the receiver both. Yes, this is true. Adults are happy in the same way as kids on receiving gifts. The rich might be blessed with many things but a thoughtful gift is something they always wish for. The recipient of the gift is quite happy on receiving a gift but the sender or the giver too does not remain aloof from this happiness. And in these troubled times, gifting has become a popular act of kindness to instil optimism in the communities. There have been many festivals and occasions that were celebrated in the confines of home this year, bereft of friends and family. And thoughtful and meaningful gifts during such times help lift the energy of the beings. It reminds people that there is someone who is thinking of them. There is no need to wait for an occasion or a special reason to extend a gif because the process of gift-giving and gift-receiving becomes a celebration in itself.

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. —Booker T. Washington

Gifts release happy hormones

The behaviour of giving and receiving gifts to loved ones or even strangers releases feel-good chemicals in the brains of us humans. People get a high when they extend gifts or even receive one. A bunch of feel-good chemicals like Serotonin, Oxytocin and even dopamine get released, making the receiver happy on receiving gifts. While the recipient is cheering up, the giver too gets his share of feel-good factor. The act of giving releases endorphins which generally are produced after a strenuous workout. Endorphins result in positive vibes. When one gets a surprise gift, the person experiences a feeling similar to falling in love, thanks to oxytocin, the love hormone. Owing to the pandemic, many people are not being able to meet their friends and family and receiving gifts helps in reducing the stress and anxiety associated with loneliness.

Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege. ―John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Invest time in choosing gifts

Now that we know that the gifts are the harbinger of happiness, how and what to give remains the question. I still remember receiving the same brand of the chocolate box from different families visiting us on festive occasions. And obviously, parents tucked the similar boxes into the cupboard, leaving just one for us to enjoy. If only, we had received different kinds of gifts, our parents would have let us enjoyed each one of them. And those times made me realize the importance of thought and meaning behind gifts. Thanks to sites like Oyehappy, giving thoughtful and personalized gifts has become easy. As my sister is one of the biggest fans of Harry Potter, I decided to give her something related to the same. While the e-market is flooded with Harry Potter funkos, I wanted to give her something different, a collectable that cheers her up. So I zeroed in on A Sorting Hat Magnet through Oyehappy. This quirky gifting site customized the magnet with my sister’s pictures. I even got a magnet of her favourite house – Gryffindor. Oyehappy truly eased the entire process of gift buying. The gift reached my sister in a matter of a few days. And the giggles in the conversation could be clearly heard.

I’m not materialistic. I believe in presents from the heart, like a drawing that a child does – Victoria Beckham

Move beyond materialistic gifts

Choosing gifts for some people is not at all easy. They might have everything that they need and might not like to add anything to the present clutter. And then there are some people who do not want to burden the earth with plastic and other non-degradable things. For all such people, non-materialistic gifts are the best things. The current trend of virtual gifts is the best thing I say. The other day I came across a virtual gift like ‘mail from strangers’ on oyehappy, wherein strangers mail the person. They keep him or her guessing throughout the day. If my friend is a Biryani lover, she will get emails saying that the entire city of Hyderabad is going to eat Biryani on her special day. Such funny lines are sure to make up her day. I also liked the gift of ‘plant a tree’ wherein I can plant a tree on the behalf of my loved ones.

It is not the gift, but the thought that counts – Henry Van Dyke

Gift experiences to build memories

My parents always wanted to go to the beach but they were not able to do as there was none in the vicinity. Once I booked a trip for them to a beach and the happiness on their faces was palpable. While materialistic gifts are consumed in days, months or even years, experiences are etched in the minds for long. Happy experiences help build good memories. Express gratitude to your neighbour by tending to her plants someday. Gift a hug to spread warmth and joys to people around you. Become the caretaker for your friend’s toddler for a day. Gifting experiences is quite easy and simple. For instance, your tired aunt can get a gift of an all-paid spa from you. Or that friendly family can get local zoo passes or passes for the museum. Likewise, my wish is to take less-privileged kids to an amusement park someday and spend time with them.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much – Blaise Pascal

Words are gifts to the heart

Whenever I think of words as gifts, I remember this line from a popular song, “It’s only words and words are all I have to take your heart away”. Kind words easily make up the day of all those people who have been kind to you. Just a thank you said from the heart is enough to make the person feel special, to make the person feel that his or her good acts are being noticed. On birthdays, write a long happy message for the birthday person and see their faces light up. These days when birthday messages are getting shorter and shorter with the use of acronyms like HBD, a long heartfelt message is a better present than a mere gift. In the age of the internet, the art of hand-written letters got lost somewhere. I still remember my childhood friend using her best calligraphy pens to write birthday messages to all her loved ones on handmade papers. And further in the current scenario of the pandemic, wherein social distancing is a mandatory thing, gifting experiences and words really work well. People have been expressing gratitude by holding placards scribbled with good words for the doctors and the nurses, the cops, also neighbours and cleaners and security personnel as well. This is such a lovely concept.

Everything is a gift of the universe – even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment. – Ken Keyes Jr.

Also Read: 10 Powerful things that you can think to stay happy all the time

Thank the universe for bestowing kind gifts

Gift-giving should not wait for occasions or celebrations. They should be imbibed in the daily routine. In the morning, thank the universe for gifting a beautiful morning. When all the family members are up, gift each of them a hug. During the day, gift kind words to everyone that you meet. While having food, thank the nature for gifting good health. And at the end, while retiring to the bed, thank the universe for the beautiful gift in the form of the day that went by.

The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become – Robert Holden

And in the end when you receive a gift

When you receive a gift from the universe, from your loved ones or even from a stranger during the pandemic or otherwise, do not shy away from saying thank you. Do not forget to express gratitude. A kind word said on receiving a gift makes the giver feel happy for all the energy, time and thoughts that he or she invested.

And I am thankful to you for reading this post. Happy Gifting!!