Chances are I am a bit odd, but I’m not a huge fan of giving gifts because a societal event says you should. Don’t get me wrong, I do like getting things, but the things I tend to like are unfortunately things that I can either use (and probably replace something I have used to death), an experience or a beautiful piece of art. Sadly all these items are generally very expensive and well beyond a reasonable gift budget for anyone but my wife and I. As for friends, well their time is the biggest gift they can give me.
What sparked this train of thought is our recent house move, really the only time when we actually figure out what we have. Among the things I dug up were a trove of attractive, sometimes hand crafted and often deeply meaningful gifts. All well intentioned and all given with love. So, what is the problem?
There is no way around it, but to sound a bit harsh. They basically don’t fit in our life as it is. There is only so much space in cupboards and on surfaces, and there are only so many of one item you can use. My practical self says get rid of them… but it was hand crafted… or it was on that day… or it was …..the list goes on. So, they go in a box and when the time comes when they would be great to use…. they are forgotten, only to surface again in the next move. What is the solution? I really don’t know.
Another example is the recent baby registry. My wife is super excited to spend a day with lovely friends, colleagues and family (yes there are 3 parties). Sharing stories, sharing laughs and she is thankful for all the time and effort people are putting in behind her back to put together an event.
However, the other night she was stressed to heck putting together a registry of gifts for the baby. What was the stress? Finding enough low priced items to put on the list. After all she doesn’t want these people to have to spend a fortune, but in reality most of those items will be hand-me-downs from friends and family anyway. The things you really want help with are the big ticket items, but giving a bit of money toward a breast pump is just not sexy and then if you give money you don’t want to seem stingy…..However, when she suggested that people shouldn’t give at all, that idea went down like a lead balloon.
To my mind the answer is Diapers and food items! Diapers will certainly not go astray in the next couple of years and given sleep deprivation on our part anyone willing to give us some sustenance will be welcomed.
Perhaps I will resolve to only give experiences and perishables as my future gifts to friends and family and hopefully I can convince them to do the same.