Everyone knows that I'm not good with gift giving or birthdays in general. Maybe it is because I think gift giving should be something personal and thoughtful, or useful, or fun for the giftee.
Even Christmas gift giving is difficult for me. It was a relief to me when I finally figured out that Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents. On some level we all know/knew this, but we find it difficult to buck the system and not give gifts. For some reason we put pressure on ourselves to buy everyone some sort of gift - often when we don't have the money for such giving. And often the gifts are not personal or even what people want or can use. What I finally discovered was that I didn't have to do that - I could give gifts to whom I wanted or not. It's that simple.
At Christmastime I cringe when I see all the Wal-Mart aisles filled with junk gifts, knowing that people buy that crap to give to friends and relatives just so they can give something - anything - spending money they can't afford to spend. The people who get such gifts end up putting them in a closet or maybe a garage sale. I say, "Stop the madness!"
I feel similar with Christmas cards. When I get a store-bought card with someone's signature or worse, printed name, I wonder, "Why?" Could you take a little time and write a brief note or something personal? I like Gene's Christmas gift/card - he takes a few minutes and calls people. I love it - personal and caring! So, when we stopped giving so many gifts to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I started painting little cards and sending them to people. I hope that it is a wanted gift - something special for the person.
Years ago, my best friend gave me a set of earrings - about five or six little earrings on a card. Normally I would love such a gift, but the earrings were not well made and were not something I would wear. It made me feel like, "Does she know me at all?" Because I think it is good to give gifts we would like to get ourselves, I thought that my friend must have chosen the earrings because she liked them for herself. So, I told her that I was not really fond of them, probably would not wear them, and offered them to her. It was a big mistake. She didn't want the earrings either and was hurt that I would return them to her. On the other hand, what she showed was that she had bought me a cheap gift that even she would not use. Hmm, that didn't make me feel special, and isn't that what gift giving is all about?
On my recent birthday, I got several really nice little gifts - things people put some thought into giving. I like that! the gifts were not expensive, but useful and fun. I also got several painted cards - I like that too - personal and caring. But also recently, someone brought me a couple of items that they had picked up at the Dollar Store. I knew they meant well, but they were not items I wanted. I tried to not take the gifts - showing them that I had plenty of those items already, but they insisted that I keep them. But I don't want them. I'm picky about such stuff. So I tried using the stuff - not good. So what now?