Mental Generosity – Gift Giving Note #5

Being of sound mind and body I declare this day #5 of Gift Giving Week!

gift giving #5

Chicken or the Egg

What comes first the mental illness, then the stinginess? Or does stinginess lead to mental illness?  Now, of course this isn’t really a serious question.  Mental illness has a myriad of reasons for its existence, not just some simplistic outer indication.  But their is a kernal of truth in the question nonetheless.

Acting vs Feeling

One of my favorite quotes is, ‘It is easier to act your way into another way of feeling then it is to feel your way into another way of acting’.  In other words, take action first, then the feeling will follow. It’s not always the case, but it is true most of the time.  You don’t want to go run, not in the mood, but you run anyway, and guess what? Your mood most likely will change.  You don’t want to give away stuff but you do anyway and, lo and behold, you start to enjoy the giving.

Hoarding and Mental Illness

Hoarding has just been designated a mental illness of it’s on this year.  What is hoarding about but stinginess?  You don’t want to let go of something, get rid of something, allow someone else to have something.  Why? Maybe it’s because controlling that object means you control yourself and those around you.  And where does grabbing at control lead?  To the desire for more control.  Is attempting to control everything in line with the human reality we all live within?

Giving and Mental Health

Giving away stuff, giving away time, effort, self,  keeps you grounded in a very persistent reality, and that is the reality that nothing lasts.  Not you, not your stuff.  Staying in that reality is being mentally healthy so maybe it is true, that giving is not only a sign of mental health, it can actually lead to and sustain mental health.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who doesn’t even control the remote.

Quote by Karl Menninger


Trivia of the day

What does ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’ mean?  The only sure fire way to tell the age of a horse, and thus it’s value, is it to look at it’s teeth.  The higher the gum line the older the horse.  When you get a gift you should not question it’s value, if you do you are looking a gift horse in the mouth.



Gifts and Time – Gift Giving #4

I am saying this with a Poker Face…It’s the perfect time for day #4 of Gift Giving Notes!

gift giving #4

The Gift of the Game

One of my best memories is of playing board games at the family cabin.  Whether it was Christmas, Thanksgiving or just a visit without a holiday, we always found time to play board games.  It tells you something about the people you might not ever discover otherwise.  I discovered some people just could not pay attention for very long at all. Others were highly competitive in certain games, and not in others.   The quiet ones were usually the most dangerous players.  Some were sticklers for the rules. I mean REAL sticklers, others couldn’t have cared less. As a matter of fact often times they wanted to reorganize the game with new rules.  “let’s play with just 3 cards each.”  “Let’s use 4 die instead of 2.”  or my favorite, “Let’s play the game backwards!”


If I ever came across a person like that again I would definitely recommend them playing something like Poker instead of a board game. Poker has so many variations.  When they were young I taught my daughters how to play poker using penny stakes. It was great fun and they had a blast learning the game. It was very simple 5 or 7 card draw.  I remember once watching poker on TV and I didn’t have a clue what they were playing. It certainly wasn’t Texas Hold ‘Em, I knew that much.  Since the variations are endless the type of person who likes to change the rules up can just play a different version and voila, the rules have changed!  

Mixing It Up

Even if you play the same game, you can always mix things up and try different strategies or approaches.  I do that online with the various types of games I play; backgammon, Scrabble, Mancala.  You can do it even more in Poker or other card games.  If you do like playing cards, check out this lesson on how to mix up your card game in Poker.  The site is Poker Junkie and while you can’t play there, you can learn a lot!  If I hit Las Vegas soon, which I might to attend a conference, you can be sure I will take a look at Poker Junkie to see what I can learn (which is a lot!)


Drawing, quote and commentary by Marty Coleman,

In collaboration with Elizabeth Bridges of Pokerjunkie.


Giving But Not – Gift Giving Note #3

It may not feel like it, but here’s my gift to you today

gift giving #3

Forgetting Gifts

I don’t remember gifts.  My wife can remember a gift someone gave from 5 or more years ago at the snap of her fingers. I can’t remember what gift she gave me for my birthday this year.  I also don’t remember what I gave her for her birthday, but you can be sure she remembers.  I would like to remember more, but I just don’t. At least so far.  

The Forgetting Gift

But there is another aspect of forgetting gifts that I also have and I am glad about it. That is forgetting what gifts I gave. I like forgetting them because I hate the idea of keeping track of gift giving for some tit for tat type reason. I just don’t have the energy for it and it doesn’t matter to me.  So, I like giving and forgetting, unless of course I give the same gift 2 years in a row, then I wish I had remembered!


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who thinks copper eyeshadow almost always looks good on women, but rarely on men.

Quote by Max Beerbohm


Hanukkah Trivia of the Day

There are a total of 44 candles lit during the eight days of Hanukkah


What Do You Give Your Child? – Gift Giving Note #2

And here is my gift to you, day #2 of Gift Giving Week!

gift giving #2

What Doesn’t Last?

What do you give your child (or anyone for that matter) at Christmas or Hanukkah that lasts?  I have a few things given to me when I was a kid. That means they have lasted 40+ years already.  I don’t give most of them another 40 though.  So, 80 years maybe?  Maybe more if I hand it down and one of my kids care about it and keep it.  Some gifts are lucky to get taken off the living room coffee table after the presents are opened.  They are played with during the time right after the opening of the presents but they are left behind when the presents are taken to the receiver’s room for safe keeping.   Most gifts last a bit longer, but not nearly 80 years.

What does last?

Your love lasts.  That is what they will take with them and keep a lot longer than whatever present you give.  So, if you are prickly with your love, an untouchable, unfriendly sort, then you aren’t giving much love.  If you are an impenetrable wall that hides behind your strength, you aren’t giving much love.  If you are a snake, intent on deceiving, then you aren’t giving any love.  And your child isn’t receiving any either.

Just remember, when you give a gift, it isn’t really the material gift that will last, it’s the love in the giving that will.


Drawing by Marty Coleman, who got a lot of love growing up.


Christmas Trivia of the Day

The song, ‘I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ was written by a 12 year old.


How vs What – Gift Giving Note #1

This is my gift to you – a week of notes on Gift Giving. Aren’t you happy?

gift giving note #1

Trauma Giving

It’s so simple it only needs one sentence.  Don’t be a stingy jerk at Christmas or Hannukah.  Ok, maybe a few more sentences.  That doesn’t mean you give a lot. It means what you give you give willingly, with joy and enthusiasm.  If you complain about the cost of something, especially to the person you are giving it to, then DON’T FREAKING BUY IT in the first place!  If you complain about how hard it was to find something, how they better enjoy it, how you hope they appreciate all the terrible trauma you went to to get it…then you are ruining the gift giving. Just shut up and give it to them with a smile.  You can tell them all about the near death experience of your Christmas shopping in your memoirs or when you are in couples counseling, but don’t do it Christmas morning.

Gracious Giving

The attitude of gracious gift giving is what your loved ones will remember and learn from, not the gift itself (unless you give them an encyclopedia, then they will probably learn from the gift as well). Of course, to get to gracious giving you might want to stay within your means and give gifts you enjoyed getting, finding, making, buying, discovering for that particular person.  Just a thought.


Drawing and quote by Marty Coleman, who never drew a violin before (that he can remember).


Interesting Gift Giving fact of the day

People with longer last names give more gifts at Christmas

(source: The Goods – the blog of uncommon goods)



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