Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis the season of gift giving

I believe there is an art to gift giving. In order to keep my thoughts on track here, I'm going to try and write this about what I truly feel, and not try and soften the counterpoint side, as I typically would in discussions.

Gift giving is complicated business. What do I mean by that? After all, someone gives you a list or a couple things to buy and then you go out there and get it right? That's typically how it goes, but I'll be honest I hate that almost as much as someone asking me to get them a gift card.

To me gift giving should have a personal side to it. It's all fine and good to have gifts come from a list, but there has to be something special given with the gifts purchased from that list too, something not asked for, or longed for, or something that someone didn't even know they wanted.

The best gifts I've received over time were often not something I asked for or truly expected (except perhaps for some of the hard to get toys my parents got us as children.)

When I'm asked for a list of things I'd like from those close to me, it almost makes me upset. I know it's wrong, but I really would just rather they took a shot on getting me stuff they think I want. Now I realize that this might be a personality flaw in that if they don't get me something that shows they know me, I'll feel bad about it and truly wonder what the hell they were thinking. But even knowing this, I can't break that trait. I want to know whether people 'get me' or not and what gifts they choose would tell me a lot.

I see people going down there list of things and purchasing 90% of their presents from Amazon.com or online and I seriously wonder if they even care about other people. (I realize I'm a bit demented for this thinking) But how do you buy something you haven't seen or touched or know whether it's good quality? I realize that time constraints plays a role, and I know there are some things that are easier to buy online, but would it kill these people to head to a store once or twice during the season and buy something that takes some thought.

I know it's not possible to make every gift special, but all it takes is one or two. Something related to a hobby, or that will help in the workday, something for someone who's really frugal and won't buy something nice for themselves. All it takes is some insight and thought with it, is it really so hard to do? Half of the time, the one's that are the most personal tend to be very small anyway. A pair of sunglasses for a friend you know always loses their sunglasses, a bottle of liquor for someone that likes really nice stuff, but won't buy their own. Something for packing lunches for someone that takes their lunches to work. This is where to me it's truly the thought that counts.

Enough of my rant on that, my real dilemma lately is on the other side of this, the giving part. As much as I like receiving personal gifts, I get a lot of enjoyment out of giving a thoughtful gift. Which leads to two things this time of year, overspending (as I tend to buy the personal gifts in addition to the the stuff on the 'list') and frustration when I can't find anything special. This year has been a pretty crappy year for finding something special, I just haven't been able to find 'neat' stuff that someone might want. I think it's a bit of a hangover from last year, in that I was able to find some cool things for people I was giving gifts too, and so this year I'm out of ideas.

I had a little luck last weekend, where I was able to find some gifts that I think the receiver will really enjoy. I had some thoughts floating around in my head and I was actually able to find something equivalent. There are still a few people that I'm buying for this year, that I just don't feel like I got them anything special and it's nagging at me. Maybe another trip to the store tonight will help with that.

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