Christmas time is a time for a lot of festive activities, and they’re all aimed at spreading joy and the spirit of the season. Some of these activities involve the giving of delicious baked goods; many a cookie delivery has been made in the name of the holiday season. However, some people claim that receiving a baked gift on your doorstep creates a feeling of obligation rather than joy. Now that they’ve received a gift, they feel obligated to reciprocate. So, should we all stop giving gifts to prevent others from feeling obligated to return the favor?
The givers, those who are responsible for the sweet deliveries, seldom expect anything in return. Their intentions may not be entirely selfless, they may want to feel better about themselves by helping others, or they may want to foster good will with their neighbors, but that doesn’t mean they want a physical gift in return. In most cases, they just want to do something nice. Sometimes they may even feel obligated to give the gift in return for something the receiver did for them in the past.
Many cookie recipients are more than happy to receive these types of deliveries. They don’t ask questions, they don’t feel obligated to return the favor, and best of all, they get to enjoy a guilt-free plate of cookies that appears out of nowhere. This is the type of response givers envision when they plan the delivery. This recipient may return the favor or keep the holiday spirit rolling by doing a favor for yet another individual, but this is done in a spirit of giving and not obligation.
So the root of this obligation problem lies with those few reluctant recipients. They may feel like the giver is expecting reciprocation, but in most cases this simply isn’t true. It’s one thing to refuse a large gift that costs hundreds of dollars, but cookies, brownies, fruitcakes, and holiday breads are nothing to fret over. So, if you’re planning a cookie delivery, don’t let the few reluctant recipients spoil your small act of service. And, if you’re the recipient, you don’t have to feel obligated to do anything but enjoy the treats.