2975 Westchester Avenue, Suite G02, Purchase, NY 10577
Stop Searching for the ‘Perfect’ Gift GREATEST GIFT OF ALL
We don’t give gifts to make ourselves look good; we do it to make the people we care about feel loved. “
On my 40th birthday, my wife and kids covered my eyes with a blindfold and took me on a surprise trip. Initially, I expected a brief outing, but that mystery ride ended up lasting two hours. When the blindfold finally came off, I found myself standing in front of Pocono International Raceway. I was thrilled! I have been into motorsports and car racing for years. My family arranged for me to spend my birthday driving formula race cars. It was a real dream come true! Sharing the experience with my family made the day that much more fun. That surprise trip to Pennsylvania is still one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.
This time of year, there are a lot of retail ads insisting that we need to find the “perfect” gift for our loved ones. Giving gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah has become an integral part of the holiday season, especially here in the United States. Part of the blame for this belongs to us New Yorkers — or at least the New Yorkers of the 1800s. If you look at Christmas in particular, gift-giving wasn’t part of the traditions until wealthy and middle-class citizens in New York City transformed the holiday from a public revelry to a home-centered holiday. Historian Stephen Nissenbaum wrote a book called “The Battle for Christmas” that covers this transition in depth, but, basically, wealthy citizens worried that working class folks would use Christmas celebrations as a way to protest labor conditions. That fear would pave the way to the Black Friday madness we see today. Many people bemoan the “over-commercialization” of the season, and while I love giving and getting gifts myself, I’ll agree that there is a lot of pressure to give the “perfect” gift. There’s this idea that buying a gift for a loved one is a test. It doesn’t matter if we’re shopping for their birthday or some other holiday; we need to find just the right gift that will prove how well we know this person. But this isn’t the point of gift-giving.
We don’t give gifts to make ourselves look good; we do it to make the people we care about feel loved. My 40th birthday present isn’t my favorite gift just because I got to drive race cars — it was great because I got to share that experience with my family. When I set out to give someone a gift, I looking for three things: What would they want, what do they need, and, most importantly, what would make them smile? If the person smiled when they open their gift, then I know I found the “perfect” thing. The best gift I’ve ever given wasn’t technically a gift, but it was a huge surprise. When my wife and I were buying our new house, we kept it a secret from our kids until we closed. Then we took a page from my birthday, blindfolded our children, and brought them to our new home. They were as excited to see the house as I was to drive race cars. All the kids ran around and played hide-and-seek in the new house for hours. It was great!
I want to wish you all a wonderful end to 2019. May you enjoy a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year with lots of smiles.
–Dr. Harrison Linsky
Westchester Office • 914-251-0313
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