Remember that receiving a person's love is a gift to him or her.
Avoid competition or trying to outdo, pay back, or respond to imagined obligation. Keep it simple. Give what you can. Give what you desire to give. Then receive what is given in the same spirit.
Keep your perspective. If a gift is not perfect for you, avoid taking it personally. Not every gift has to be imbued with eternal, deep meaning. Sometimes people are stressed and busy and don't have the time or the memory for all that is required of them come holiday time.
Whatever you receive or don't, whatever you give or don't, stay in synch with the real reason for it all—love of God and love of one another. Everything after that is gravy.
On That Note: Some Important Thoughts on Giving and Receiving
With the financial crisis of 2008 still not quite behind us, before we put our hands out to give or receive, we ought to ask ourselves: what is really of value? For too many years we have fallen prey to the purveyors of Madison Avenue and been in the trance I've called "Moritis." It has become a pervasive cultural delusion, a trance in which we believe we are what we have and, as a result, must always have more. If we are no more than the image we project by the things with which we surround ourselves, then those things must always speak of us well. They must be new, shiny, hip, gracious, sexy, gallant, grand, outre'—whatever it is we want to say about ourselves via those objects.
It occurred to me the other day that these toys and trinkets we consume and collect are not unlike the transitional objects children use to represent the safety of their mothers and fathers. When a child is scared to be alone in their own bed, they might carry a blanket or stuffed animal or piece of clothing from their parents' room to remind them of the comfort they want. That blanket becomes a "transition" from the security of the parent to the time the child is able to internalize that feeling of safety and carry it within himself or herself.
Objects that "represent" status are no different. They are substitutes, usually poor ones, for the persons we really are.
When we give, we might consider that the things we have held in such high esteem these last few decades—the blingy gadgets, the HDTV's, the phones that can do everything except whip cream—are worth little more than the landfills they occupy within the year when they are compared with the love and time you can be giving instead.
Before you give, think about what has truly made you happy in your lifetime—even if it has only been for a brief moment. The probability is very high that it had little to do with "more stuff" and a great deal to do with feeling loved, accepted, free, and part of something bigger than yourself.
Whatever you give, whatever you hope to receive, let that thought guide you and become your silent, sure intention.