I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty amazing gifts in my life. Things I really wanted, but had no expectation of actually getting. Surprises that blew my circuits with the thought, care and love that I knew went into picking them out for me.
On the giving end, the fun of seeing a friend’s face light up with genuine excitement at a perfect gift chosen especially for them brings a pleasure and satisfaction that’s hard to match, and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way.
So why is it that every gift-giving occasion always produces at least a couple of those “What the hell were they thinking?” gifts that look like the giver just threw a “Hail Mary” and hoped for the best?
Let me just say I don’t need any more – or any, for that matter -- tee-shirts with sayings on them. “Does 'anal retentive' have a hyphen?” Thanks for pointing out that I’m a control freak and, by all means, let’s share it with the world.
Same with that mood ring. I know what mood I’m in, thank you, and while we’re at it, I haven’t been in the mood for a lava lamp since 1968 either. While you may have had the best of intentions, I already have closet shelves devoted to ceramic cats, more soap than anyone could use in a lifetime, candles for everyone should there be a nationwide power outage, and a ceramic photo frame in the shape of a cow. Blessedly, only one of those.
While it should go without saying, unless we’re closely related, please don’t give me underwear. As for socks with cartoon characters on them? Really? The dementia is that obvious, is it? I don’t need a coffee mug with a photo of my dog on it. I know what my dog looks like. I’m already the only one in the office with no family photos on her desk. Why don’t you just get me a mug that says “pathetic” and be done with it?
Homemade gifts are especially iffy. Jellies, cookies, banana bread? Bring it on. A hand-knit beret made from your dog’s fur that you collected from the floor after grooming, wove into yarn yourself and then knit just for me? Not so much.
When I was 15 my mother put a carton of cigarettes in my Christmas stocking. “Spring” was my death stick of choice back then. Of course, this was before we all knew about the dangers of smoking, which makes me feel a bit better because, although I was a pretty rotten kid, I’d like to believe that my mother wasn’t trying to off me.
All of which leads me to the obvious: What wrong with cash? Even the wealthiest among us can appreciate that a twenty will buy a few beers. The wealthy love cash. Why do you think they have so much of it? And if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for the rest of us. While cash may not say, “I saw this and immediately thought of you,” I think I’ve clearly established how very awry that path can go.
When in doubt as to what I might want, just ask. I’ll tell you. I’m not shy about it in the least. I’ll even send you links to the websites. Seriously, I’m here to help.
Of course, if you’re still determined to go it on your own, you can pretty much never go wrong with a good book. ;)
If this post seems familiar that’s because it’s included in my book “Suitable for Giving; A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry,” the book that Kirk Douglas said had a laugh on every page, and who am I to argue with Spartacus.