Gifts are fantastic… but tricky!
They have provided me with a life-time of enjoyment morphing from the raw excitement of opening gifts as a little kid to the unmatched satisfaction of giving the perfect gift that lights someone up.
But there’s a catch. Sometime before you hand over that gift, you must wander around endlessly in the dark cave of indecision while, here it comes… shopping. (If you enjoy that process, this post is not for you.)
Malls understand this well. That is why they have ensured ready access to the pity bench near the stores. Inevitably it will be occupied by a forlorn-looking guy suffering from culture shock as enthusiastic shoppers stream by him. Time. Stands. Still.
For anyone who has ever sat on the pity bench, or wished they could, here is a list of entirely unhelpful shopping and gifting observations … just so you know that not everything out there makes sense.
1. Crafty gifter. These are the people who give hand-crafted gifts making it impossible to match. They are quick to suggest that everyone should bring a gift of something they made – the non-crafty people’s eyes immediately widen in horror.
2. Merry Christmas to me. In the exuberance of shopping and buying gifts, somehow most of the packages seem to be for them at the end of the day. How did that happen? Back to the drawing board with more shopping!
3. Careless gift giver. This shopper loads up on clothes for everyone. Oh and if it doesn’t fit you can take it all back. In the end it isn’t giving a gift as much as gifting a shopping errand!
4. Idealist shoppers. My friend’s standard for gifts might make the most skilled gifting pros a little uneasy. He likes to give gifts that people didn’t know that they wanted but can’t live without once they have it. Yikes.
5. Keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ shoppers. They are the ones who keep ramping up the value of gifts every year for fear of being out gifted. This is love if you like accounting and guilt.
6. List shoppers. Sometime in summer they start demanding lists from family members with the persistence of a collection agency. Then they religiously follow the script and surprise no one with their ingenuity.
7. Procrastinators. They are too easy to pick on. The full realization of the looming deadline is just starting to kick in. Why did Christmas come so early this year? But no worries, there’s still lots of time.
8. Money exchangers. Why shop when you can send money or gift cards? My favourite true story is two couples exchanging presents that turned out to be gift cards – two gift cards… from each couple… from the same two stores… for the same amounts.
9. Absent-minded shopper. Picture a parent totally focused on reading a label while one toddler is screaming and another is emptying the shampoo bottle on items in the cart. An older brother further down the aisle is cleaning off a shelf to make himself a bed. The oblivious parent reads on…
10. Shopping gift givers. This year my son reminded me that giving Christmas gifts may be a less generous gesture than we think. Why? The gifts come with expectations. In our culture, our gifts often end up as a form of economic exchange where something inevitably is coming back to us. Taken to its logical extreme, if gifts are really disguised obligations, we should be giving gifts to those who annoy us so they have to do more shopping!
Maybe the best Christmas gifts are the ones we give without any expectation of something in return. It’s something to think about.
Have a great Christmas everyone (and don’t worry about sending me a gift because I probably won’t send one back anyway:)
Krahnpix note: I will be taking a break from posting blogs and checking in on other blogs until after Christmas. I would still love to hear your reaction to this post and will enjoy responding to every comment.