Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To Gift, or Not to Gift...

Hypothetically speaking...

You're an exceptionally good gift giver, you don't have many talents, 6 to be exact, but giving good presents happens to be one of them. You're so good that sometimes those who receive your gifts don't realize the genius of the gift until years later.

One Christmas you give a gift to person A- an extremely thoughtful and cleaver gift. Though A attempts to act grateful, you can tell A doesn't quite get the brilliance of the gift. Your feelings aren't hurt because it's obvious that A has lost their sense of humor and self and it is so obvious that this gift is awesome. You tell person A that if they don't like the gift they can sell it on eBay because it is in high demand and worth a lot of money.

A few weeks later person A then mentions that the gift you gave A was the hit a party A recently attended. Everyone loved it. (See even complete strangers recognize your fabulous taste, even if person A doesn't) You ask why A'd take such a gift to a party- from which you defer, not only did person A re-gift your gift, A re-gifted it as a white elephant gift. (The fact that this individual would give away something they could have easily sold for a minimum $45 on eBay as a white elephant gift doesn't quite surprise you, you've already decided A has lost all taste, what amazes you is that A actually thought they were paying you a compliment in how many people liked the gift)

That same person A had mentioned to you that a friend gave A something for free because A had extended a helping hand. Two weeks later you get the exact same item that A was telling you A got for free as a Christmas present.

Person A has also made it a habit to never write a thank you note, nor even a phone call extending thanks for gifts (very, very thoughtful gifts) that were previously given for a variety of holidays and occasions.

So here’s the question: Do you continue to give gifts that go unappreciated? Granted you don’t give a gift for appreciation, but if the receiver is going to donate the gift to the Salvation Army, what’s the point?

I've previously blogged about how to receive more presents but as gift giver is there a point in time come where you say- "dude, from now on out you just get cards"?


Janell said...

Nope, you can still be generous and thoughtful - just scale your budget and your level of effort waaaay back. If Person A can't distinguish between a fabulous gift and a dollar store item then Person A's gift may be something nice from a dollar store.

I really hate it when I don't receive thank you notes for wedding gifts (esp ones I put a lot of effort into). Mostly because I'd like to know that the shipped gift at least arrived.

Yet I'll admit I'm not so good at the thank you card thing. Pretty good at calling, but poor at mailing.

KDub said...

A: I know all details of this story very well... made me laugh when I saw you posted this.

A: It didn't happen just to you.

Salt H2O said...

Don't know what you're talking about Kels, this is a purely hypothetical situation. ;)

Steve said...

I saw either go with Janell or blame the economy on no gift this year, haha. I only buy gifts for immediate family and I think that is how it should be. I don't want anything from anyone else nor do I feel compelled to buy them anything. We didn't even do cards this year with everything going on. That is probably against the 11th Commandment in Utah, haha.

Salt H2O said...

Steve- what if 'hypothetically speaking' person A was immediate family?

I think Janell is right, dollar store it is!

We're not doing Christmas Cards either this year, but mostly because we'll be doing baby announcements in January and that just seemed like too much.

davers said...

Bummer ... and really disappointing ... but at worst they deserve your pity. I feel bad for people who haven't learned the joy of receiving. I know too many people like that. They're robbing no just you but themselves of some real joy - and probably on a regular basis.

What to give them? I don't know. I don't have a clue. Perhaps a donation in their name to a charity? Hows this:

adam said...

I probably wouldn't give them a gift anymore, because it sounds like they don't really care one way or the other. My FIL has always said that he didn't care about gifts, and it took me a few Christmases with unopened gifts sitting on his shelf for years before I realized he was serious. So now we just do cards, which he reads, and enjoys. :)

Allie said...

I generally only do gifts for my family. I have one group of friends that trades names, but this year I suggested we spend that money on some kind of charity. We took our kids, bought toys and things, and are donating them to the Children's Justice Center.

I really dislike doing dinky gifts for my kid's friends. It usually isn't a problem, but sometimes the parents want to do a gift exchange, and I have a hard time getting out of it.

The kinds of gifts you can buy for kid's friends are junk. My kids don't need any more junk, and I'd rather save the money (and have other people save the money) for other things.

It's hard to not hurt people's feelings though.

I'd buy them a goat or something from heifer international, you print out a card and give that to them and the goat goes to somebody who really needs it.

Steve said...

Salty - Yeah, that is a tough spot. I'd just go with Janell and get something more or less thoughtless like "Hey, I didn't think you've seen Pineapple Express yet, so enjoy it!" haha.

Allie - Funny story, my parent's friends got them a goat one year as a prank gift. My parents, not knowing what to do, named it Sophie and kept it for about 18 months and it lived in our backyard. They gave to a farm or something that had a bunch of other goats and mom still says she looks for Sophie having fun whenever she drives by, haha.

Robin said...

I am an excellent receiver. You should give some gifts to me and see how great you feel! Really. I'm that good.

Allie said...

I wish someone would give me a goat as a prank gift (or not a prank gift).

I'd have to not live in an HOA first. Give me a few years. (got that shenpa?)

Salt H2O said...

You're hilarious.

Allie- I'm sure you can find a way to hide the goat from the HOA.

Jeri and Amy said...

My dad is THE worst gift receiver in all of human history. This is not hyperbole, he truly holds the title. (He made my little sister, at the tender age of eight, CRY on Christmas morning and run out of the room in hysterics because of the way he yelled about how much he hated her gift. There are no words to describe how ungracious he can be.)

While he has gotten considerably better at accepting gifts (no one has cried in years), he still moans about how much he hates presents. He has begged me for YEARS to stop "wasting [my] money." But, have I stopped? Not even close. In fact, I spend considerably more today than I ever did in the past. Why? Because gift giving isn't about the recipient's reaction, it's MY expression of love to HIM. He doesn't have to accept it, he doesn't have to even like it (and he usually doesn't), but giving is still the right thing to do.

Salt H2O said...

So what I gather from the post is giving gifts isn't about the other person, it's about you?

That doesn't make much sense either.