This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The joy of giving

In a longish life, I've known very few people who enjoy giving. And I mean the type of giving that Christmas stories are written about. Instead, most of the people I know enjoy exchanging things with each other.

When you give something, and ask for something in exchange, it's simply an act of commerce. When McDonald's gives me a cup of coffee, and I give them money, it's an exchange. So I've often looked at how people perceive giving, and what they are looking for.

The only pure type of giving is when you expect nothing in return. And I really have known people like this. They're rare, but they exist. They expect nothing in return, and in fact, if you try to turn their gift-giving into an exchange, you have made a mistake. When I've seen these people, I have been amazed. They are the exact opposite of people who expect some type of payment in exchange, even if it's a thank you card. When they say, *don't thank me*, they mean it.

Doing this type of gift-giving is something that I call *linear kindness*. It means accepting a gift from someone, but instead of exchanging it back, you move it forward. If you follow me on this, it means not expecting a thank you, not checking to see if your gift cost more than the gift you gave the other person.

I have received many gifts in my life, and I do pass them along as I can. If people ask me if I exchange gifts at Christmas, I tell them no. I give gifts.
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