The Gift Exchange

When my friend Diana and I spent an evening shopping last week, she invited me to choose a coffee mug for my Christmas gift. 

I loved this idea. She said she already had my gift bag (with my favorite holiday motif of skates), but she just hadn’t gotten the gift yet. 

We often exchange gifts of coffee and mugs since we both have a penchant for them. I gave her a ruffled white mug with a fancy silver spoon I found over the summer. 

So as we shopped, I spotted an adorable mug with a Santa hat that said “May all your days be merry.” She gift-bagged it for me on the spot.

As I unpacked it at home and looked at my holiday coffee mugs, I thought about gifts. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could choose all sorts of gifts? Like the gifts of our strengths and skills that come wrapped around who we are. 

Sometimes I have an easier time thinking of what I’m not instead of recognizing who I am with the specially chosen gifts that God instilled in me. 

And instead of wishing I were different, I want to learn to treasure those gifts. The gifts that are my own personal characteristics. 

That I sometimes would rather return for something better, newer, brighter, more dazzling. When I wish I could have chosen my gifts for myself, I start to think that I know better than God does who I am and what I need. 

What if I looked at who I am differently? What if the gifts I try to cover up and change are the very ones that help me appreciate grace? 

The grace given to me and the grace that I should give to others. My unsparing honesty, my intense temperament, my strong-mindedness. 

Maybe I could also look at them from the other side. To see where the strengths are. I could see them as truth, passion and determination. Good things. 

And if I recognize these characteristics as gifts maybe I can trust that they are all I need to fulfill God's purpose for my life.

I'm sure I’ll still probably spend some time wishing I could exchange those gifts for some others I think I’d rather have. 

But instead I'd like to recognize, enjoy and learn how to better use what I've been given. Because they help me see what God has called me to do in my life. 

So as I drink coffee from my new mug, I’m going to try to make the most of my merry days. 

I don't think anything I could get in return would be as valuable as the gifts I already have. 

No refunds. No exchanges. I'm keeping all the gifts.

Which strengths of yours are the gifts that you’re appreciating this holiday season?

I'm linking up with Emily's Tuesday's Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.


  1. What an inspiring post! I often dwell on things about myself that I believe are negative qualities, I love the idea of recognizing those aspects as gifts that I just need to learn to wield properly!

  2. Brittany,
    Thanks for inspiring me with all your good qualities -- they are too numerous to mention! I love your positive, can-do outlook, especially with GWS! I couldn't do this without your strengths! :)

  3. I love this post! And I completely agree. I want to accept myself for who I am, and value my better traits more than I tend to do. Thank you for always inspiring me!

  4. Christy,
    You have the best plan for accepting yourself than anyone I know -- I come to you for inspiration!

  5. Inspiring and perfect for the season! It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ― Sam Keen, To Love and Be Loved.

    I've always read that quote about finding an external love. Today is the first time I realized that quote is about ourselves. No one by any means is perfect, and nor should we expect ourselves to be. By learning to see our own imperfections as strengths means accepting ourselves for exactly who we are and who God made us to be.

    I can't imagine a better gift this Christmas than the inspiration you've given me by reminding me to see my own faults as strengths in my character. Thank you for your inspiring words and friendship!

  6. Bree,
    Your words are humbling and encouraging -- they speak to my heart and I can't imagine my life without your strengths of exuberance, capability, positive outlook and above all, I can't imagine being without your friendship!

  7. I've been greatly enjoying your articles - just no time to drop a note. Love the mug selection - what fun to have friends in and enjoy using them all! You have some great memories - love all the pictures! You are who you are - and wonderfully made by God. God uses us all as we are....don't change a thing! You seem pretty perfect to me!!!!!

  8. Hi Sharon,
    I'm glad you enjoyed the mug photos! Thanks as always for your encouraging words -- it means so much!

  9. Ohhhhh... I'm so in love with that "may your days be merry"mug! Where can I get it, please do tell :)

    1. Hi Barbara! Thanks so much for stopping by - -the mug is from TJ Maxx!


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