What Did You Get?

The four word question will begin popping up over the weekend and early next week. Family, friends, class mates, and co-workers will ask “What did you get?” Looking to hear and compare great gift stories from Christmas. Children often prepare wish lists for the Holidays. Retailers create wish books to highlight the latest toys and hot gadgets for the season. So going in there is certain level of expectation that is set. It’s an innocent question what did you get?

But when thinking about being asked the question myself, it now seems a bit inappropriate. Let me explain. It really depends on who’s asking, most are just being politely and have a general curiosity to know what gifts you received, but for some asking the questions I think it’s a bit of a competition, let’s compare gifts and see who won type attitude. Depending on the outcome it could leave the questioner envious or feeling like Mr. Jones himself. That’s really not in the spirit of the season.

Sure as a child I was into tallying present numbers, the more the better. I did this because I didn’t know any better, as I got older and understood the value of things that thinking shifted. Now being debt free I think it has shifted again. Having the means to budget and purchase wants there’s no need for the big wish list at the end of the year. It’s more about providing quality experience over quantity. So when people ask me what did you get this year, they may be surprised at my answer.

what did you get

History of Christmas Presents

Historically the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas is to remind us of the presents the Wise Men gave to Jesus. They were Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity, Gold as a precious metal, Frankincense as perfume or incense, and Myrrh as anointing oil.

What Did You Give?

I’m going to approach the “What Did You Get” question differently this year. Sure I’ll answer if asked, but my reply will be “What Did You Give?” I think this question just by swapping the get with a give should provoke a better response. I know I would much rather share the stories of the gifts I gave and happiness I provided to others then tell you about my new shirt.

Just last week while out shopping I purchased a twenty-dollar Starbuck gift card, after paying for it I handed back to the cashier. She had a puzzled look on her face. I simply said please buy the next few people in line a coffee on me, Merry Christmas! I’m also making DVDs of old home movies for a number of family members this year. For a lot of reason they will be special. So will you join me in the “What Did You Give” movement? Use the hash tag #whatdidyougive to share you best giving experience this year. Please use the click to tweet or share in the comment below.
[bctt tweet=”#whatdidyougive -“]

I can’t share you all of mine just yet, my gifts have yet to be open.

Merry Christmas!

43 thoughts on “What Did You Get?”

  1. Great post! My friends and I often talk about what we’re giving before Christmas. Especially since husbands can be hard to buy for (in my opinion). A question I like to think about is what did I get (or give) last year? If I can’t remember, maybe we need to rethink our Christmas gift strategy!

  2. LOVE what you did at Starbucks!! And love your suggestion about asking “What did you give”. The favorite thing I gave this year was a Lego set we purchased for a Santa Anonymous program in our county.

  3. Awe how nice of you. I would be stoked if someone had paid for my coffee! I got an outfit for a 3-year-old girl in an adopt a family program. But other than that my goal is to give patience and kindness since I know a lot of people get agitated this time of year.

  4. I hate this question. It is absolutely a competition for most people when they ask you this. I always try to steer it toward something else, like “What did you do for Christmas? Did you travel to see family?” or something like that.

  5. I love this! Honestly, it just feels better to give than to get. Cheesy, I know, but true!

    I love library book sales, where the books are $1 each. This year, I bought $10 worth of used children’s books in great condition for a local NICU that gives them to parents of NICU babies.

  6. This is a really lovely idea, Brian.

    This relates a bit to something I’m becoming aware of needing to talk to my daughter about. I recently told her that she has about $100 in her bank account, and talked to her about interest. (This is separate from her piggy bank and her 529.) She’s only six, so $100 sounds like millions to her, and she keeps telling people about it, proudly. Aside from it being kind of funny that she’s bragging about having $100, I want to make sure she’s not saying this to her classmates, some of whom come from pretty disadvantaged families. I don’t want to make money a shameful topic, but I also want her to be aware that it can be a difficult topic for some. And, as you point out, the emphasis should be on connecting with people and what we do for each other, rather than how much we have or receive.

    1. Thanks Amy and good luck with your talk with your daughter. I’m sure its innocent and she’s talking from a sense of pride, but understand other children less fortunate might perceive it.

  7. I definitely get a lot more excited to brag a little about what I gave than what I got – and not in a financial way, but in a “I nailed the perfect present, cost aside” way. For instance, I got a bunch of old home movies digitized for my mom after nearly two years of trying to get it done and they’re awesome! I also found this bizarre Outlander coloring book for my best friend. Outlander is a very R-rated Starz show, it was hilarious to me they’d turned it into one of those grown up coloring books and I knew she was the only other person who would be equally amused. I can’t wait to give both of those gifts.

  8. Love it! Granted, I tend to think of holidays in terms of what I’m giving others rather than what I’m getting. But too many of us forget that “giving” can extend to people beyond our gift exchanges.

  9. Great post Brian! This is the first debt free Christmas for the wife and I. We were going to go all out, but instead build almost every present this year!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  10. I definitely think that as we get older, its all about the giving instead of the “getting” and it feels great to give! You are doing a good thing and I love what you did what that starbucks card.

    I need to do something cool like that too!

  11. My mom still insists on buying for all of us. This year, I told her I needed a new set of measuring cups and a baking pan. I can no longer come up with anything fun – I have everything I want.

  12. Gosh reminds me of grade school…it’s such a sad question because for kids it always seems to be a competition of who got the best stuff. Thankfully I don’t hear this question very often in the workplace.

  13. Really cool post Brian, it goes to show people want to compete even in the holidays. I rather talk about other things then bring up what did you get talk, but to each its own. I am going to use the what did you give response. LOL. Happy Holidays.

  14. I gave the greatest gift, I could. The gift of self. My Mom is 92 and had a heart attack. I am thrilled to take care of her, and give back for all the years of love & caring. No wrapped gifts but a unwrapped heart that soars with love.

  15. I love this! What a great way to get people to think. This year I received very little but I gave quite a bit. Even paid a persons home heating bill for two months- awesome!!

  16. I really love this idea! Have you watched people’s face light up when they outline the thoughtfulness and time and effort they put into choosing gifts for others. It’s something that normally gets lost after Christmas. Such a simple question breathes life back into it.

  17. In my immediate family we no longer exchange presents and it is the most liberating feeling. So what did I get? Piece of mind, quality time with our families, and a warm heart for donating to those in need instead. You can check out my most recent blog post for more details on our Christmas traditions.

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