Some people love to give gifts. Throughout the year they are paying attention to you in a different way. They are listening for and taking note of your likes and dislikes. They take special pleasure in delighting you with the perfect gift–knowing that it will function as a symbol of their love for you.
Others love to give cash gifts. Or ask you to provide a list of suggestions. These folks want to express the same love–but they want to do so by giving you the opportunity to buy something, or do something special that you may not normally have the means to do. Or they understand that they may have a better chance in delighting you by providing that thing you’ve been secretly pining about. They enjoy seeing what you’ll do with the money–they’re learning about you through your delight.
Still others give gifts that are expressions of themselves. They aren’t as interested in figuring out exactly what you want as they are in sharing something they love with you. On reception you may not even know what the thing is–yet the excitement of the giver is delightful as they explain why they love it, and why they want you to love it too.
I love the diversity of strategy and motive. Gifts are powerful expressions of love. God expresses his love to us through his good and perfect gifts (ultimately by the Gift of His Son, Jesus Christ). We express His character when we are generous.