KingMidget's Ramblings

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A Peek Inside — The Gift Edition


I’ve probably blogged about this in the past, but I was reminded of the subject this morning by an object on my bathroom floor.

You see, I think that the vast majority of gift giving is done not with the recipient in mind, but instead to soothe the conscience of the giver.  You know, like, if I just get so-and-so a shirt every year for the holidays, I’ve fulfilled my responsibility and that frees me up to be an ass the rest of the year.  Because isn’t that what life is all about — giving meaningless gifts a couple of times a year and ignoring the real value of friends and family the rest of the year?

The way I see it is gift giving should be about the recipient.  Finding a gift that means something to the person on the receiving end and isn’t just a gift that reflects going through the motions.

Wait.  I have an example.  This year, a certain relative got me two holiday gifts.  One of them has remained in the corner on the floor in our bathroom since the day I opened it.  The other is a t-shirt from Hawaii because she went there this year.  Call me silly and I know I’m supposed to appreciate these little tokens, but I didn’t actually go to Hawaii this year.

Why do I want to wear a t-shirt from Hawaii?  You see, if I’m going to wear a t-shirt with words on it, I want the words to mean something to me.  Like all of the t-shirts I have from 5ks, 10ks, and half-marathons I’ve run.  My S.F. Giants t-shirts and a few t-shirts that have other words that are relevant to me.  But a t-shirt with Hawaii on it means nothing to me.  What it really represents is this … “let’s see, I need to get a gift for Mark this year.  I know, it’ll be easy to just get a t-shirt while I’m in Hawaii.  Box checked.”  That’s what gifts like that mean to me.

But, wait there’s more.  There’s that object on the bathroom floor.  It’s a new toiletry bag.  So, tell me something.  I have a professional job.  One in which I’ve had to travel quite a bit over the past 25 years.  I also, of course, have traveled with my family.  Don’t you think I’d have a toiletry bag already?  In fact, I have two.  At least.  And, guess what?  I don’t even use them any more.  I just throw my deodorant and tooth brush and whatever else I need in gallon-sized plastic bag and throw it in my luggage.

So, what’s the toiletry bag about?  What does it have to do with me?  And my needs and wants.  Absolutely nothing.  Yes, I know.  I KNOW.  I should appreciate these gifts as an effort.  Problem is that I just don’t see how the effort has anything to do with me.  I’m not interested in a check the box gift.

Me?  I want to give gifts that have meaning to the recipient when they come to me and not just check off boxes at birthdays and holidays.  Me?  I don’t want your gifts unless you’ve thought of them and realize that they are about me and not about you.

Do I manage to do this myself all the time?  No, of course not.  It’s the pressure to conform and just engage in the same box checking that everybody else does.  But, I’m trying.

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11 responses to “A Peek Inside — The Gift Edition

  1. passionatedreaming January 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Sometimes you are just too much.
    This past Christmas I felt the same way. So I decided to buy a bunch of wooden picture frames from the craft store. Ariana and I fingerprinted them and put in a picture of her. On each frame I wrote “Ariana loves … ” so ad so. I hope that it meant a lot to everyone. 🙂

  2. sknicholls January 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    My step-son gave me rock this year. You may think it sounds crazy that I proclaim it to be one of the sweetest, most meaningful gifts I received this year, but I will tell you why I do. The red rock is the desert rose. You may already know this rock formation, but you can google it. A perfect rose in stone that was once clay, a natural formation, for my book titled “Red Clay and Roses”. I thought it most thoughtful. I could write more about what he said about its meaning but it would take up much space here. I can relate to your post though.

    • kingmidget January 8, 2014 at 6:40 am

      You don’t need to explain it. That it meant something to you is all that needs to be said and that he thought about it and got it for you says even more.

  3. Theryn January 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’m hardly one to talk since receiving a gift I dislike inevitably sets off the mental tug o’ war between HATE! and guilt, but I think you’re probably over-thinking this just a little 🙂

    Anyway, re: the T-shirt, just a little story. I have an old hoodie I wear mostly at home with pajama pants. It’s a good hoodie; I like it. A good friend gave it to me, long ago, and what’s on the front is the logo of a place she worked one summer so it’s what you might call “meaningless.” But every time I wear it, I think of my friend who I don’t get to see that often anymore because we live too far apart. So you could say that there is meaning attached to this hoodie, but it has nothing to do with what’s on the front of it.

    I just saw this this morning and it seemed apropos to this post, so I’m sharing.

  4. atkokosplace January 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    My X-mas list is tiny (3). However what I give is always thoughtful. The “tiny” list are spoiled throughout the year! Why wait until one or two days of the year!? 😛 (Hey and if you get that t-shirt you don’t like…turn it into an awesome scarf. I will post how to do it. No sew I promise!)

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