about Giving

My Philosophy – the Magic of Giving

White FlowersThink of how splendid life would be if we all tried to be more generous and caring toward each other and the larger world. The age-old adage that “to give is to receive” remains as true as ever, and yet the pace of modern existence often leads us to overlook that fact. The busier and more distracted we become, the more we forget how important giving is to a meaningful life.

This book is designed to help you rediscover the sheer delight of thoughtful giving. It is full of ideas for bringing joy to others and in the process energizing yourself – because making others feel special makes you feel special, too. Throughout my life, I have found so much joy in giving that I now want to share that pleasure. In doing so, I hope to give you the confidence to project your unique style and personality through the magic created by a simple gift.

This book has a practical side. Have you ever hesitated to get someone a gift because you weren’t sure what to give them? Were there times, perhaps at work, when you wanted to thank someone but didn’t know how best to express your gratitude? You’ll find the answers here. Along with particular gift ideas, I’ve included advice, personal stories, and inspirational quotes on the power of giving. My intent is to help you transform each day into a celebration of life, the priceless gift we all share.

In essence, Giving and Gifts is about translating a generous thought or emotion into something tangible. I call that the giver’s way. As a personal philosophy, it can become a beautiful habit with a marvelous ripple effect, turning others into givers themselves. For it is giving and receiving love, happiness, friendship, and kindness that makes life rich, not financial resources, power, or status.

Without quite realizing it, I was taught to give at an early age. My teachers were my parents and grandparents, who introduced me to a form of Southern hospitality unique in many ways to New Orleans, our home for generations. Only later did I understand how the codes of generosity I learned as a child resembled those found in almost every time and culture, whatever the local differences. It is surely human nature to give, to care, to connect, to love, and to belong. The ancient sages and modern psychologists would agree that gift giving can strengthen both the broadest and the most intimate of human ties.

There are several ways to use this book. You can browse through the pages or consult the chapter-by-chapter index at the end to locate particular topics. While I offer specific gift suggestions for an array of life events, my overall goal is to awaken your own creative process. You can try my ideas just as they are or reimagine them as you see fit.

I hope this book will inspire you to give with your heart and make life happier and more joyous for us all. I believe our thoughts, words, and actions can change the world, one sincere gesture at a time. Try it. At your next opportunity to give a gift, rise to the occasion and do some small thing that says, “You matter; I care.”