According to Wikipedia.org gift giving is defined as this:
A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness.
Now that Christmas has vanished before our eyes and Valentines day is creeping upon us, this subject matter has been weighing heavy on my heart. To me, gift giving is such an important part of life. In the American culture, there is ALWAYS a reason to give or receive a gift. Anniversaries, baby showers, weddings, thank you’s, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentines day, Mothers day, Fathers day, kiss your cousin day (just kidding)…you get the point. We love to celebrate life.
There are several different kinds of gift givers.
One being, the very thoughtful gift giver who puts a lot time into finding or making a gift to make the gift receiver feel very special.
There is the gift card giver, which isn’t a bad thing, but they probably don’t know what the gift receiver would like, and this is their way of saying, “I care, but have no idea what you want or need”. When giving a gift card, at least make it creative. Example: I wish I was there to take you to lunch like we use to do on your birthday, so here is $25.00 to do so. Please know, I’m there is spirit. Love, Cassie.
There is the gift giver who buys a gift that they like for themselves, in hopes that the gift receiver will “share” their gift with them.
There is the last minute gift giver, which typically turns into whatever they see first…zero thought goes into the gift. I feel, the last minute gift giver, is usually feeling pressured into buying something and doesn’t know the person very well. This usually ends up with the gift receiver confused and sometimes in tears. I would shy away from being this type of gift giver. I mean, everyone knows when Christmas is…why must you wait until 11p on December, 24th to go shopping for your wife or husband?
Buying gifts can be such a daunting task. Especially, when you don’t know the person that well. You have heard the story over and over again about the terrible ugly sweater that Great Aunt Betty made you for Christmas. While this was very thoughtful, probably took lots of time, and you know so much love went into each and every stitch…it is totally something you would NEVER wear in a million years. So you put it in the box to go to Goodwill.
You have been invited to a birthday party for a child, and have NO IDEA what to buy a two year old, especially when you don’t have kids of your own. While you are looking at isles full of toys, your head begins to spin. Do I buy something made in China? Do I get a Batman or Spiderman action figure (because you know it matters)? How much should I spend on a toy that is going to be trashed in two days or never even used? Whatever you get, make sure it comes in a big box. They will wind up playing with the box more than the toy anyway.
Then, you have the dreaded holidays…this includes Valentines day, which is right around the corner, so that’s why I’m going to focus on this specific holiday. I just LOVE to hear people complain about Valentines day…it cracks me up!
“It’s a made up holiday for Hallmark to make a gazillion dollars on LOVE.”
“I’m single and miserable”.
“My husband or boyfriend is sooo not romantic, so I would rather pluck my eyelashes out than hear about how everyone else had romantic evenings with their loved ones”.
The day that is suppose to be about love, is spent by many, curled up in a ball on the couch, watching sappy movies, with a box of tissues and chocolates, bawling their eyes out. This, to me, is so sad.
For the singles, this should be a day that you go out and have a wonderful dinner with all your other single friends and LOVE the fact that you have so many friends who really love you. You could even have a party at your place and invite all your single friends over for a yummy dinner that you prepared or have a pot luck dinner. If you don’t have friends, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your life…seek some therapy. ALERT THE MEDIA: This is why you’re single.
For the ones who are in relationships…really knowing the person you “love” is what’s important. Some women truly don’t want flowers or chocolates, but continue to get the same thing every year. Some men don’t want a pair of silk boxers with hearts all over them, cuddled up to a stuffed bear…really what is a grown man going to do with a stuffed bear? It could be as simple as staying in and writing love letters to each other. Perhaps you could turn your bathroom and bedroom into a spa. Prepare a meal together or go to dinner. If you have kids, include them in a really fun day and evening…heart shaped pancakes are a great touch or let them help you make a heart shaped cake.
This day is about love, it’s that simple. As cliche as it sounds, every day should be Valentine’s day. There is so much pressure, shoved down our throats by the media, to create a honeymoon-like atmosphere, that we feel like failures if we don’t spend a ton of money. All it takes is some thought. First question, how can I show my lover that they are cherished? Second question, should I plan the day, or should we do the planning together? Third question, how much do you want to spend?
*You can use these same questions for anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas.
The best thing to do as a gift receiver is to start a registry (this goes for your kids too). Wedding’s and baby shower’s have it down! Most people start a registry and receive everything on their wish list, without duplicates. Creating a registry can help the gift givers, who aren’t the best at picking out gifts for you, give you what you want or need. Everyone wins! Here are a couple of places where you can set up registries. Obviously, most places do this now, all you have to do is go to their website and then let your friends and family know. Easy greasy lemon squeezy.
* Some sites will have “wish lists” and some will just have “registries”, either way, set one up.
Williams and Sonoma
I hope this has helped the ones who need a little help with gift giving. Giving a gift should make the recipient feel special and loved. Simplicity is sometimes the best and most memorable. Happy Valentine’s day!