Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be taking a couple days off, as will most readers, I suppose... eating turkey, enjoying time with family and friends, and trying to face the nightmare known as Christmas shopping.

I am such an anxiety-ridden gift giver. I have a large extended family, and though none of us give each other expensive gifts, the overall spending can really add up. Fortunately a lot of them are big readers who don't know or care that I can get a lot of books for free!
But all those extended family members aren't the problem... there are a few people that I am closer to, and for people that are important to me, I hate giving gifts that seem impersonal or too run of the mill. And if I find something more unique, I'm terrified that I'll still have gotten it wrong, that the recipient won't like or appreciate it. As a friend of mine put it, I want to give gifts that say "I know you."
This isn't entirely about money. On the one hand, I tell myself that if I found the perfect gift, the cost wouldn't matter. But on the other hand, there are limits to that. Of course it matters! I can't just give someone a $700 gift just because I think it's perfect, at least not every year! Even if I can "afford it," I think giving large gifts drags you into a weird zone of stress about reciprocity. Does the recipient feel guilty because you spent too much on them? Do they then overspend on you? Does it turn into a spiral of gift inflation?
To me, as both a gift-giver and receiver, the perfect present is something that is unusual, personal, something the recipient might have wanted but didn't buy for him- or herself-- and on top of all that, not too expensive. One of the best presents I ever received was an antique hand-cranked drill-- sounds bizarre and useless, but it was a gorgeous object, and though it's too long a story, there was a reason it meant something to me.

Fortunately antique drills and such aren't the kinds of things offered at deep door-buster discounts on Black Friday...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is giving a "Free Gift" when others have to purchase in return appropriate? (Perhaps you should at least include a token 'handmade' or 'written' bookmark?

David said...

Turkey or Pig?

SingleGuyMoney said...

I'm doing all my shopping online. People seem to become very rude during this time of year.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous:
That's called resourceful...and wouldn't you agree that's how trades get initiated, too?

SandyVoice said...

What's wrong with regifting, if the regift is the perfect gift? If we really believe what we say, that it's the thought that counts, then it counts whether you bought the gift in the first place, or just figured out who is the perfect recipient. For my birthday one year, my siter gave me a pair of vintage earrings that had originally been given to her. She doesn't feel comfortable wearing clips, I wear clips only. My sister would never wear the earrings; I wear them all the time, they make me feel like a million bucks, and it made me happy that my sister thought to give them to me. The regifting didn't offend me, and I bet it wouldn't offend the original gift-giver.

SandyVoice said...

And by the way,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

Kansas Simplicity said...

I am making rag rugs which are very cool as gifts this year. While old time farm craft, people like these items and they are gifts that take time yet not a lot of money. While not sure where you are from (rural America or City) rag rugs are used a lot of the farm and are part of folk craft.

Anonymous said...

I have one of those hand drills too in a wooden box with many bits held in by springs. It has been in my family for a long time. I use it when the power drill needs to be recharged.