When did something that is meant to feel good and charitable become a mind-bending nightmare? Who? How much? When? And what is appropriate? It's such a first world problem, but one we face throughout most of the year. Some thoughts on the perils of modern gift-giving:
The abundance of gift-giving events - Seriously. We have created so many celebratory events that seem to have gifts tied to them. I blame Hallmark. All they have to do is create a new card range recognising some non-event which then ties the possibility of adding a gift for good measure. Or maybe it's our desire for attention that creates these new events in our lives? Standard gift-giving events include birthdays, cultural holidays, weddings and babies. Branching out of these are new 'events' that some believe involve the need for gifts:
- bridal showers
- bridal kitchen tea (what on earth is this?)
- hen's parties
- house warmings
- new job
- Valentine's day
- Mother's/Father's day
Cash please - I realise that these days a lot of people have lived with each for a long time before engagements and marriage and will often request money instead of gifts for these occasions. This annoys me. Probably because I'm the type of person that puts a lot of thought into gifts and giving cash just lowers me to the level of people that don't bother thinking at all. Cash in a card makes me think that it's a cash-prize for being clever enough to throw yourself a party. It's impersonal and people will judge your friendship and generosity on the amount you contribute.
How far does gift-giving extend? - A few years ago when I moved out of my parents home and Christmas came along, I grappled with the dilemma of who would be included on my gift-giving list. Immediate family was a given, but what about aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, work colleagues and friends? In the end I added a couple of friends and grandparents into the mix. Any further and the occasion would have been unbelievably expensive.
Not opening gifts in the presence of the giver - I show up at a party. Fair enough, there's a lot of people there to talk to, but guests (like myself) that spend time thinking about the perfect gift don't appreciate it when there is a gift table and nothing gets looked at while guests are there. In buying the gift, I think about the surprised and happy look on your face as the gift is opened. This is doubly annoying when there's no recognition down the road like "Oh, thanks for that book. You know I looked everywhere for that title". You would think that I would get the same response (ie: none) if I brought nothing, but I doubt it. It would be noticed and I'd be labelled as a non-gift giver.
Anyone else have their own gift-giving peeves to share?