Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gift Giving

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?


Die schönen Karten said...

My Aunt Claire who lived in Germany would send my mother a birthday card, and a Christmas card every year. Usually with a couple of snapshots of the family.

Even though these cards were bought in a gift store, I eagerly awaited the next one. My mother was also amazed by them.

I believe they were hand printed, and the paper was very matte finish. You could almost smell the fresh ink.

Just artsy on the front, and blank on the inside for your letter. There was a little see-through blotter paper designed for old style pens.


Jo Castillo said...

Gifts are special. I agree on the waste when bought just for a ‘gift’ without thought. Larry is our best gifter. I’ve gotten small eye glasses for my purse, we got a sun screen for the windshield of the van, potato peeler when mine was not good, etc. Many weird gifts in my life. We have really cut back on the giving. No obligation now.

Bag Blog said...

Die schonen Karten,
A German friend of ours used to give us a Christmas advent calendar. As a kid it was fascinating - so very well done.

My kids are actually pretty thoughtful with their gifts - probably because they have heard me complain so much :)