Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gift Giving

By far, the vast majority of readers of this humble blog do not know me personally. And those that do, in spite of the years we have known each other, we have not ever exchanged presents at Christmas or Chanukah, so for the purposes of this discussion, you can be included with the greater portion of readers.

You should all consider yourself lucky: I've been told that I am a horrible person to shop for.

(I know, I know: ending sentences with a preposition is wrong; I've wrestled with that single sentence for 10 minutes. If you can re-write it properly, by all means please educate me!)
It is probably my own fault, really. I don't like getting gifts. That sounds a little strange, I suppose, but that's just me. Genearlly speaking, if I need something, I'll go out and buy it myself. People will say "so, tell me what you want not what you need" and I am unable to give them an answer.

I want a Porsche. I want a TV big enough to warrant an extension on the house. I want a house that a person could get lost in. I want more hours in the day (or less need to sleep).

See? What I want is so impractical for anyone to give, it makes no sense for me to list, so why bother? And as for anything that I might enjoy, well, I don't have much free time, so again: why bother? ...continued...

I understand this causes consternation with others, who feel somehow deprived from the act giving me a gift, but this has always been my way of thinking, for at least 25 years now. I understand the satisfaction and enjoyment a person gets when the gift they give to another is opened, etc., and who wouldn't want to experience the joy of giving? So I do my best to make others feel their gift is appreciated.

That's not to say all I ever get are bad gifts, and that I have to fake it. Far from it; I can't think of any genuinely bad gifts I have ever recieved. But for me, I always think of how I need to fit the gift into my routine in order to show the giver I really like it (which, as I've said, I've historically done). Else I may somehow disappoint the giver.

See what I mean? The best description of what it is like to give me a gift is 'horrible.'
HAH! That time I wrote it without a preposition at the end!
And the rage, in recent years especially, are gift cards. That's just one step above opening your wallet and handing out cash. Now in some instances this makes sense: give a kid $50, and the kid will buy that much of junk food. Give the kid a clothing store gift card, and you'll be fairly certain they'll buy clothes.

That's not to say I like gift cards (I don't), but many people do. My much-better-half asked me for one some years ago (OK, it was a store gift certificate). I still can't comprehend that... just buy what you want, and cut out the middle-man of the gift-cert/card.

Last month, my much-better-half announced that she was buying a laptop for the house, and that we'd share that as our Christmas present. Of course, I am shopping for her as well, in spite of what she said, because I know her well enough to know she's doing the same for me (which makes her initial statement silly, but...). She doesn't read this blog (not much, at least), but Murphy's Law being what it is, I can guarantee she will if I list what she's getting from her wish list.

The one thing I am forbidden to buy is jewelry. I've bought it in the past, and in spite of my own ineptness I seem to have selected quite well (from what she and others have said). She says she has enough, and of late we're not getting out as we used to, so much of it sits in her jewelry box.

Still, I can't help but remark about the ZALES TV ad that's been playing nationally. The one that speaks of diamond studs, from $99 to $5999. Is it me, or is that price range simply too large to mention in the same breath?? In what other advert have you seen such a stretch in pricing?

The primary focus of gift-giving energies will go to the kids, of course. Bothers and Sisters (without kids) will get suitable gifts for their homes; if they have kids, then the nieces and nephews will be gifted.
Side note: why are 'nieces' and 'nephews' gender specific, but 'cousins' isn't?
Another issue I have with gifts is when they're expected to be given to people who are outside of your realm of personal space. I don't mean tips to people who serve you in some manner (but, of course, only if they're earned). I mean for consider this ad:


Am I to assume I am expected to give a gift to a near-stranger? Nearly all the people I work with in my office I've known for 13 months; does this qualify as 'barely known', and if so, am I obliged to get them a gift? I don't expect any of them to be exchanging gifts with anyone else, I should buck this belief and start gifting them? Logically, if I barely know you, neither of us should expect anything from the other, outside of a hearty Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (if you prefer).

Or maybe it is just me...

Oh well... the latest winter storm, complete with ice, is moving in to my region as I type. Perfect time for me to close up and head to.... the mall! Heh, who would be crazy enough to shop now, other than me??

I'm off to a Christmas play with my son Friday, one of the montly school trips that are planned. It starts in the afternoon, so the storm ought not affect it.

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