December 19, 2005

To gift or not to gift.

Yesterday morning, I bundled up the family and braved the great world of retail. We had to do some more Christmas shopping and it was just easier to do it early on a Sunday then any other time. The stores weren’t as crowded. Don’t get me wrong, they where still crowded, just not AS bad. Yesterday’s little excursion just cemented my opinion on something.

People just don’t understand gift giving/receiving, including myself.

Ever since I can remember, I always hated Christmas shopping. I’ve been thinking about why that is since November when I started doing this years. The first thing I concluded on is that there are two different types of gifts. The true gifts where you want to buy somebody something and the obligatory gifts where you feel you have to get someone a gift.

When I want to get someone a gift, I have no problem coming up with ideas on what to get the person. Sometimes my ideas are good, sometime bad, but I always have an idea. When it’s an obligatory gift, I always have problems. I’m buying this gift not because I want to, but because I have to. This is when I start asking people what they want. In these cases, just tell me and I’ll get it for you. It cuts down on the time wasted by me. That’s not to say that I don’t ask for ideas from people I want to buy a gift. Sometimes my ideas don’t pan out or are just not feasible. Like this year, I wanted to buy Ktreva a very specific item. I traveled 4 hours round trip only to find out they didn’t have what I wanted in her size. Yes, I called first. But they don’t have a “hold policy”. My back up gift didn’t pan out either. Therefore, I had to ask for ideas.

Then there is the cost factor. I don’t know about everyone else, but I generally set a dollar limit on what I want or can spend per individual. With the amount of people, I’m buying for I want to make sure I budget appropriately. Nothing irks me more then when you ask someone what they want for Christmas and the items on the list are all at least twice, what you wanted to spend. For example, let’s say you have a sibling that you have no clue as to what to get them for Christmas. They give you a list that includes an Xbox, Play Station Portable, a new cordless drill and a 32-inch TV. You had planned to spend about $100.00 on this gift. Good luck, and of those items you can get for around that price is either going to be used or an off-brand POS. When/if I’m asked what I want for a gift, my answer is usually, “Nothing.” I don’t want people wasting their time or money buying me something. If they push the issue, I’ll give in and tell them to get me a gift certificate to some store. That way I can pick out what I want. If they give me $1.00 or $1,000.00, I don’t care. I just hope they wanted to get me a gift and didn’t feel they had to.

Then there are the non-gifts. The gifts that are given that really aren’t for the individual it was intended. This isn’t just the Hollweird sitcom situation of a husband giving the wife a bowling ball that is sized to fit the husband. Let me give you an example, Lingerie. Guys, when you buy some sexy slinky outfit for your woman, is that really for her or is it for you? Let’s face it, it’s for you. Unless your girlfriend/wife is a stripper, you are the only person that is going to see it. According to women, the sexy stuff isn’t comfortable, so they aren’t going to be wearing it around all day. This also applies to most electronics, especially kitchen appliances. If there is a good chance that the gift giver is going to be using it about 40% plus of the time. This should not be a gift. This should be a purchase you make on some day just for the heck of it. Now, as a caveat to that, if a person specifically and adamantly requests said item, that overrules this guideline. One year I was given a CD that my wife the gift giver thought I would like. She The gift giver ended up taking it to work and kept it for weeks before I had a chance to listen to it. Was that gift bought for me or for that individual?

Gift certificates are a no-no. Why? They show a complete and utter lack of thought. Now there are two situations when gift certificates are okay. The first is when the recipient requests them. Like myself, I would rather have a gift certificate to Best Buy, Gander Mountain, even the mall then anything else. There are items that I won’t buy for myself that I won’t ask for either that these give me a chance to get. Alternatively, maybe it’s something I want to pick out for myself. Gift certificates are great in that case. Plus, I can save them up and instead of getting a bunch of smaller items; I can get one larger. I’ve bought many big-ticket items doing that.

The second situation where gift certificates are okay is if it is for a place that provides a service. Trust me, when the guys went in and got me that $100.00 gift certificate for the strip club, I was in heaven! I’m kidding, I don’t even know if strip clubs do that, but if you own one and read this… think about it! What I’m really talking about is for Spa’s, salons, nail boutiques, etc. My wife likes to go to a local spa for treatments. Since she changes what she has done, based on her mood, I don’t know which package to purchase. Even if I did, I can’t schedule it for her. Therefore, if I want to do something nice like that for her, I have to get a gift certificate. Just make sure that if you buy a gift certificate it’s at a place the recipient will use it.

I’m sure there are other no-no’s or rules to gift giving I haven’t thought of yet. If anyone has any they would like to share, I would appreciate it. This list is just what I’ve observed and concluded on this year.

Posted by Contagion in Things that make me go, "GUH?!?!" at December 19, 2005 12:25 PM | TrackBack

Wouldn't it be great if everyone in the circle of gift giving would just abstain from giving gifts and just allowed everyone to keep their own money, they would have spent on everyone elses present, and buy themself one cool kick ass present.

Posted by: Dr. Phat Tony at December 19, 2005 11:44 AM

I'm into restaurant gift certificates. Gives me an opportunity to get out. But I generally don't want gifts that I have to give ideas for. if you don't know me, don't buy me gifts. Unless it is chocolate . . .

Posted by: Oddybobo at December 19, 2005 11:59 AM

God I hate obligatory gifts. Of course, I'm going out today to buy a few of those, because I hate the family guilt trips more than the obligatory gifts, but still.

I actually had a few things in mind for people that I actually *want* to get stuff for but I spent too much time searching, and as it turns out I'll only be able to get the stuff mail-order if at all there's no way I'd be able to get them by christmas now - maybe I'll have to make the belated gifts or something...

Posted by: Shadoglare at December 19, 2005 01:25 PM

We love food, I mean loooove food.

We ask for gift certificates to different restaurants so we can try them.

Family refuses to get them for us saying they are not real gifts, so instead they go buy some useless gift we never use. Wastes their money and our storage space at home.

Posted by: Machelle at December 19, 2005 02:55 PM

Worst part is - for my parents and my husband's father... what do you get people who have the stuff they want and don't ever really go anywhere or do anything?

Years ago I asked if the family could halt the gift giving thing. Husband and I were flat broke with a child and everyone knew this... but I was the scrooge because I didn't want to give useless gifts for which I had no money!

So, now I give Borders gift cards to the nieces and nephews. I did get something for my dad... since my sister insisted (she called and told me what to get him - then when I called her back to tell her it was being delivered to the house... she said "I already got him one of those"... I said - oh well, he'll have 2 then... GRRRR!!!! )... still don't know what to get my mom. Man I hate this crap!

Then today I went out and bought something for a friend... and had no trouble at all. Amazing how that works!

Posted by: Teresa at December 19, 2005 04:50 PM

I think I just learned one of the keys to your psyche "I’ve been thinking about why that is since November when I started doing this years.". Dude, you've gotta turn in your "Man Card" for that offense. I would think that it was from the "Heap-Big" brainwashing you'd recieved from those nice ladies, but this happenned BEFORE your visit with them.

(Sigh) This is how Metrosexuals are born you know.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at December 19, 2005 06:16 PM

Johnny-oh.. what part of that bothers you? I started shopping in November so I could avoid going the mall/stores during the busy time, thus not body checking an old lady and ending up in jail or the fact that I actually dwelled on that though for that long? :)

Posted by: Contagion at December 20, 2005 06:58 AM

Well, I WAS going to give you the gift that keeps on giving, deer hide, but eh, they all had holes in them.

Posted by: Raging Mom at December 20, 2005 10:23 AM

When buying for women, remember this truism:

"If it has a cord, it isn't a gift"

Pretty sure that it's the opposite for guys.

Posted by: Harvey at December 22, 2005 06:51 AM

Check out

They have fab ladies gifts!;-)

Posted by: Gina at March 14, 2006 07:29 AM