LHMARK From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 42 Posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2212 times:
I wrote this for a local magazine. Relevant for the season.
Gift giving: It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?
Ever heard that one before? It’s the old adage that mutates innocent Holiday shopping into a trial of misery and stress.
Most people genuinely want to give gifts out of appreciation for the recipient. Sometimes, that isn’t actually possible. The giving thought and the receiving thought don’t coincide (the classic “Sexy Lingerie Paradox”). Sometimes, it takes hours and hours of shoving your car through Holiday traffic in an aggressive manner, lunging through stores, burrowing through displays, to discover that there’s nothing thoughtful enough to buy for that special person.
Some people put themselves through the traditional ritual of going shopping at 4am on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s kind of like hunting season, where the consumers are the deer and Wal-Mart has the guns. Good thing the manager finds it tacky to dress the employees in high-visibility orange.
Others people wait too long, at which point they can be found prowling through Wegmans on the 24th, looking for the gift that makes the perfect statement (“Mom, it has eight essential vitamins and minerals”).
Really, you don’t need the stress. It helps to take a more reasoned, measured approach to Holiday shopping. Why not draw up a list of giftees and assign each a gift category (I, II, or III) for which they qualify? It’s cynical, but it works.
Gift Category I- P.I.T.A. gifts
These are cheap gifts, the crud you buy for acquaintances, extended family members, or the lady from Accounts Receivable whose name you drew in the “Secret Santa” program. It’s hard to buy thoughtful presents in this category, because usually you’re buying them for people whose interests you don’t know. Or people you secretly despise.
For some, the gift of beer will suffice. For the less alcohol-inclined, find these trinkets at mall gift stores, especially the one that specializes in greeting cards and science fiction-themed tree ornaments that actually light up and make noise. In fact, one of those ornaments may be the perfect gift for everyone on your list in this category. Make mine a Borg cube.
Gift Category II “Friend and Family” gifts
Personal gifts, the things you buy close friends, spouses, boy/girlfriends, Mom, those types. Usually, they have to “say” something nice. For Mom and most other women, they must convey the message “I Love You.” For men, they have to say “It’s an iPod.”
This stuff can be purchased at jewelry stores, tech shops, and department stores anchoring the mall (note: be careful if you choose the department store. The Perfume Spritzers of Death are in peak form during the Holiday season).
Most people limit their Holiday shopping to this category, because these days, money doesn’t grow on trees (it bubbles up out of the ground). And that’s perfectly fine for a happy gift-giving season. Some folks, however, want to make a grand statement. For them there’s:
Gift Category III
Then there are expensive gifts, generally reserved for your wife/husband/long-term partner, and your boss’ manager, if you’re the upwardly-mobile type. Cars, diamonds, vacations in Provence, that sort of thing.
Toward the middle of December, you start to see a lot of commercials for these big-ticket items. You know, the ones where the husband walks the blindfolded wife into the garage and surprises her with a new Lexus. She sure looks delighted in those ads, doesn’t she? It isn’t anything like what your wife’s reaction would be when you explain that you just entered into a large, multiyear financial commitment without consulting her first.
Trust me; she’ll be just as delighted with a trip to Aruba or a shiny diamond. And it’ll only kill your wallet for a couple of months, after which you can hold it over her head like mutant perennial mistletoe, if you know what I’m getting at. If money’s tight, Montreal will make an OK substitute.
Of course, guys are easier to shop for in this category. Just make sure it has lots of buttons, twiddly little knobs, or a big LCD display and plenty of RAM.
By now, some of you are thinking “What a jerk. I wouldn’t even accept a present from him if he bought me one.” That’s understandable, and please send me your sentiments soon after Thanksgiving so I can avoid the hassle of visiting those kiosk carts for your gift. Still, not everyone is this cynical, and for those of you who are truly lost this Holiday shopping season, there are some common-sense rule to gift giving that can help you find your way:
• Any gift containing summer sausage is bad.
• Anything alive is bad. You don’t want to give the gift of increased responsibility.
• Expensive chocolates are good, but only as an accessory to a better gift.
• Office supplies are a terrible gift, even for the Office Manager.
• If you’re buying a gift for the toddler of someone you don’t particularly care for, toy drum sets and battery-powered laser-sound guns are a fine choice.
• Art is subjective. They may hate what you love.
Ultimately, a little bit of thought does go a long way to make the exchange of gifts a pleasure for everyone. And even if your gift isn’t exactly what someone always wanted, chances are it will be accepted with genuine appreciation. If, by chance, I happen to be on your shopping list, it’ll be easy. Get me anything you want. I will thank you for the thought and effort you put into bringing me a bit of Holiday spirit. Thank You.
Just remember to include the receipt.
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2183 times:
You forget the REAL way gifts are ever more often judged: by pricetag.
Try giving one person in a room a $10 gift and the next one a $20 gift.
Even if they're quite appropriate and thoughtful, it's quite likely the person who got the cheaper gift will feel insulted or let down.
That's the true spirit of giving in our world where things like holiday celebrations have been completely commercialised.
No longer is a bunch of roses good enough for a valentine's day gift to your woman, it needs to be a diamond ring given during a week long cruise in the Bahamas.
767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2180 times:
Yesterday I emailed my "brother" and family and told them I do not want to be part of a gift exchange this year, that instead I would like a donation made to the Alzheimer's program my mother attends.
I do prefer that the money that would have been spent on a gift go toward a good cause such as this; however, I admit that in part my motive was selfish in that I did not want to spend time, energy and money I don't have traipsing through the mall (or the Internet) trying to find gifts for people who are heartless, consistently selfish and sometimes downright cruel.
Aleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3241 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2139 times:
Every gift I got was and still is priceless. It doesn't matter whether it's a 1,000$ check or a simple Christmas card. It is something that was given to me and I cherish it. It is more important WHO gives me something than WHAT was given to me. The persons I don't like could give me a real A380 and I wouldn't change my opinion on them.
The same thing happens when I give presents. Due to unpredictable economic situation in my country, there were days when I could give more expensive gifts and days when I couldn't, but every time I did give something without any reservations or otherwise I wouldn't have bothered going to the shop in the first place.
As far as I know, there are no such receipts here in Belgrade and the rule I mentioned does have exceptions. For example, if you are giving a birthday gift, price tag left on the gift is something rude, but if you go to some wedding, and such gifts are usually more expensive, again you leave the receipt away but keep it just in case that your toaster or blender is seventh the poor couple got. If they want to change your gift for something more useful, you can always give them receipt.