(Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that gift-giving should be a requirement at this time of year)
So today I was in the Mart o’ Walton (name changed just in case they try to sue me) . . .
Yes, anti-social me was in the Mart o’ Walton two days before xmas. And no, I was not buying last-minute gifts. You see, we were out of bananas . . . anyway, my trip was not holiday-related, but there really wasn’t a better time for me to go.
I was looking around at the various gift sets of this and that when it struck me – these are Gifts of Desperation.
Don’t believe me? Quick, name someone you know whose life will be endlessly enriched by 48 shades of inexpensive eye shadow. I don’t need 48 shades of eye shadow. (I don’t even need one, but that’s another story) Look at most of the ‘gift’ specials. Would you really want any of it? In another store, we saw Chia Pets. Yes, they still make them, and yes, they are still trying to foist them off as ‘gifts’.
If you’re scrambling at the last minute, this is not the finest hour for decision-making. You can start shopping in December, but to be successful, the consideration probably needs to be constant throughout the year. Christmas is not a surprise sprung on us. It happens every year. It’s going to happen next year, too. (Well, unless the Mayans are right, then you’re off the hook.) And I don’t mean stock up on eye-shadows 90% off a few days after xmas.
Remember, gift-giving is Not About You. It’s about them. My mom’s friend shops with the idea of just buying ‘whatever’ and if the person doesn’t like it, they can take it back. Really, she thinks it’s a gift to make people stand in those return lines? Is she insane? (the answer to this is yes, for lots of varied reasons other than the one I just mentioned)
We’ve stepped off that crazy train a few years ago and started giving gift certificates or flat out cash. Impersonal? Not as impersonal as that ‘champagne bottle’ of bubble bath I received one year. Do I ever take bubble baths? No. Did the person know that? I’m pretty sure she couldn’t be bothered with such mundane details. Our society seems to be caught up in the ‘must give something, anything‘ mania.
Gift cards (or cash) I like to think of as the Gift of Possibility. When you give a person a gift card, it’s still a surprise. What will it be? It could be anything. And the best part is, the person will love it because they picked out what they treasure. Even the most diligent friend may not be aware of things we covet. And some things just need to be picked out by the person who will own them.
Just step away from the Snuggie.