With the Christmas weekend behind us, we find ourselves finally settling down to deciding which gifts we will keep — and thanks to modern day technology which makes returns possible even without a gift receipt — which ones we will exchange for something we prefer. Personally, I tend to stick to what I get no matter how outlandish a present I may receive. It has always been my philosophy that the gift is as much a reflection of the person giving it as his or her regard for me — so as they always say, it’s the thought that counts.
I’m actually a very easy person to shop for — most people are aware of what my interests are (cooking, crafts, reading, music, my son, Angelo..). I dress rather conventionally so picking out colors or styles is not that difficult a task. While like most everyone else, I am wowed by extravagant gifts, the price and size of a gift does not matter to me as much as the thought that went into getting that present for me does.
So in giving, I hold the same philosophy. I tend to be rather extravagant when giving gifts to my loved ones. I try to see what that person likes, instead of what I would like to get for him or her. At the end of the day, nothing makes me happier than to see the person receiving the present I gave smile with appreciation for the present in the box. While budgetary constraints often make me settle for the “safer” gifts which are on the practical side, I often want to get something more personal although it would often entail a bigger expense.
Next year I hope to beat the holiday rush and start shopping for my presents as early as the middle of the year. Correction: I have already started shopping for Christmas 2005. Alan and I were at IKEA last Monday shopping for a single seater lounge chair when we saw the holiday goodies on sale. So like last year, I picked up 6 rolls of identical gold and silver giftwrappers selling at 50cents each (originally at $2.50). Because I did the same in early 2004, for the first time in my 5 christmases here, save for the gifts for the kids, all our presents were in identical wrappers which, I think, was pretty neat. I had actually bought gift tags from a Hallmark store but couldn’t find them in time. (So I guess I’ll be using that in 2005.)
While “It’s the thought that counts” will do for someone like me, I guess we have to do more than just wrap our gifts with the thoughts we had in giving someone a present. It pays to think of what would make that person happy, no matter how small a gift we want to give. It doesn’t pay to give someone who doesn’t wear suits a tie, just because you think he doesn’t have enough ties. If he’s the sporty type and he prefers to wear sweats, giving him a french cuff shirt might mean having your present land at the bottom of his closet floor where it will never see the light of day again. And sometimes, the best thing to do is simply ask — because then you know what you’re giving is something the recipient wanted to get in the first place.