“Just Because” gifts are given…just because! Just because you are grateful that someone is in your life…just because you know someone is going through a tough time…just because you want to brighten someone’s day.
Unlike Christmas or birthday gifts, “Just Because” gifts arrive without much fanfare. In fact, they are completely unexpected. Because the reason for giving is entirely up to the giver, they are truly whatever you want them to be, whenever you want to give one. There’s never any obligation or sense of overblown commercialism with a “Just Because” gift. It’s just taking a bit of time out of your day to bring a smile to the face of someone you love.
“Just Because” gifts are a way to spread kindness like confetti. Some recent “Just Because” gifts I gave reminded me that a small dose of kindness can have a big impact on others and may even return back to you.
“Just Because” Gift #1
One day I had been busy baking and decided to share some treats with a friend who appreciates home baked goods. I assembled a bag that included chocolate chip cookies, caramel dipped shortbread and heart-shaped Linzer tarts with raspberry jam and headed over to her house to deliver them. I rang the doorbell, handed the goodies to her husband and started to drive off.
I was almost out of the neighborhood when I pulled over to reply to an incoming text. As I was typing, there was a knock on my window: my friend had jogged down the street (with chocolate chip cookies in hand) to say thanks for the cookies and let me know how much they meant—especially today. It turns out it was a somber day for her because she was headed to the funeral of her 52-year old aunt who died after a long and painful battle with cancer. She told me she would think of the heart-shaped cookies waiting for her at home and knew the afternoon would be a little easier. Yaaaaay!
“Just Because” Gift #2
My next “Just Because” gift was for a friend who has done an amazing job leading a massive charity project. Though she has four young children and volunteers for many things, she learned of a school in our area where most of the students suffer from extreme poverty and don’t even have what most of us would call the “basics”—food to fill their bellies; socks to warm their feet; pencils to write with. She thought it was outrageous and leapt into action gathering donations of food, clothing and school supplies. The coolest part? She not only did this once, but now does it once a month.
Since my friend has brightened the lives of so many children, I thought it would be nice to return the favor in a small way and put together a basket of cookies for her family to enjoy. I also included a gift certificate for a massage so she could indulge in a bit of pampering.
My friend wasn’t home for my delivery, so I left the basket on her doorstep. As I was backing out of her driveway, she arrived home. It turns out she had a super-mega-crummy morning and an even longer week. The “Just Because” basket filled with kindness made her weep. She asked, “How did you know how much I needed this?”
(Full disclosure: I had no idea she was feeling raw. I just got lucky and did a nice thing for her on a day when a bit of kindness went a very long way. But you know what? It was an AWESOME feeling to brighten the day of someone special, especially at a time when it made such a difference. Example #7,343 of when we give, we get even more in return!)
Just Because Gift #3
Our school superintendent recently announced she was retiring. I was excited for her until an email landed in my inbox several days later. The note explained her early retirement was due to the fact she was suffering from an incurable cancer. My heart hurt for her. How could this amazing woman have evil cancer cells ravaging her body?!?!?
[When you learn that someone has been struggling with health issues, it can be hard to know what to do or say. My rule of thumb is that is that it’s always nice to be remembered. Sure, maybe the words you use won’t be perfect; maybe you could have acknowledged the illness sooner…but think of how much your kindness might mean to the individual.]
I decided a “Just Because” gift was the perfect way to acknowledge her health challenges and to let her know that I was sending happy and healing thoughts her way. To symbolize growth and life, I selected an orchid in a vibrant purple–a frequent color in her wardrobe. I had a really hard time putting my sentiments into words, but after several tries, I managed to get the card written out.
I left the “Just Because” gift with her secretary and forgot all about it until a thank you card arrived in the mail. Her beautiful note of appreciation brought tears to my eyes. Knowing that I helped make her load just a little bit lighter for a brief while made me feel like I was the one who had received a gift.
For whatever reason, these “Just Because” gifts made a far bigger impact than I could ever have imagined and were a great example of when you give, you receive even more. Try it for the special people in YOUR life…just because! 🙂