Are Our Gifts Worth Anything?

On my Forbes blog this week, I shared the story and video of the Best Gift I Ever Received and how it surprisingly helped me navigate life and money.  Because that gift has continued to increase in value throughout my life, it led me to this difficult question: Do the gifts I give appreciate in value or depreciate?  I was challenged further, wondering: Do I give gifts out of compulsion—just to check something off my to-do list—or am I really putting my heart into it, making an investment in my loved ones?

My honest answer to both of those questions is less admirable than I’d hope.

So, with Christmas literally upon us, I’d love to learn from YOU: 

What are some of the gifts you’ve received—either tangible or intangible—that, like the best gift I ever received, have continued to accrue in value and pay dividends throughout life? 

And what are some of the best gift ideas you’ve devised that you’ve seen bless others tremendously?

 Please comment below, and have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!


10 thoughts on “Are Our Gifts Worth Anything?

  1. Hi, Tim! Great question! Looking back over my recent and for distant past (way distant), one thing stands out as most helpful, compeling, and lasting: the giver’s time and attention. My grandmother and mother and I sang together while traveling in the car. That’s how I learned harmony and gained a love for Christian music and hymns. In my teens, my grandmother let me come to her house for dinner so I could stay in town and go to choir practice Wednesday nights. These gifts have lasted me all my life and bless me still. One other special gift comes to mind, an organ. My first husband bought me an organ that fulfilled a longstanding dream to have both an organ and piano in my home. I loved to play duets. (Sadly, I had no one to play the music with and eventually gave the organ to my husband’s church. Even though we were divorced by then, it seemed right to give it to his church. The church needed an organ, and he was its pastor at the time.) Thanks for stirring these memories, especially at this time of giving thanks to our precious Lord. Have a most blessed Christmas! Judy Moore

  2. Tim,
    We give Roth IRAs to our son for Christmas. As the day of the defined pension plan has all but disappeared except for cops, firefighters and teachers, we feel this gift will not only grow, but serve as a perpetual gift.

    • Tim, that is definitely the gift that keeps on giving…especially when we begin to imagine the direction taxes may go in the future. Financially speaking, there really is no better gift than an appreciating Roth IRA! Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Hi, Professor Maurer,
    The best gift I ever received was my husband. I didn’t have the greatest childhood, and college was very tough for me personally. When I met my husband, my life was literally saved. He is a saint and has helped me through the many ups and downs of my life and career. He has appreciated in value a million times over and the dividends of love and support will sustain me throughout my life and career.

  4. Hi Tim.
    The best gift I give all year long is sharing my resources. As hokie as it sounds in this setting, directing my daughter to the Financial Consulate is a big one. And so pleased am I with that gift that I directed another young professional to you recently through a gift of your book The Ultimate Financial Plan.
    The greatest gifts I have received are my family & friends. Not far behind, having just had my fourth, is probably angioplasty, without which I would be too dead to submit this response.
    My most appreciated gifts are those I give myself…faith, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, accountability, perserverence, laughter, healthy food, an active life, enough rest and an optimistic
    And of course the greatest gift of all is the Love I give and receive. Love can make up for many things that may be lacking, but without Love, no matter what else there is, it is never enough.
    Did I mention angioplasty?

    • Rock, I’m still laughing about the angioplasty comment–although I’m very thankful for it, of course, as it has kept you with us! Great feedback; I especially love your closing comment about enough. Rich or poor, enough is all too elusive!

  5. One Christmas we gave our boys an “experience” rather than items. It was a ski trip out west and because we scheduled ourselves to fly on Christmas day (cheaper) we had to give the gift a few days early. We planned out a scavenger hunt where they had to go around to several places and people they knew and collect hints. It culminated with a lunch out and a “reveal.” The trip was great and the memories lasted way longer than any item we could have gotten them.

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