Sidenote: First of all, I have to admit this: My favorite band when I was in 5th grade was Chicago. “You’re the Inspiration” and “Hard Habit to Break” were dedicated to Jason Marlow and Bobby Duran, two of my long-term crushes, as detailed in my journal from that time. I don’t dedicate songs to people anymore in my diary, but maybe I should start?
Okay, enough of the Old Days.
So, gift-giving can be a real pain in the joints, can it not?
Last year, I gave one of my coworkers a whole basket of items of significance and meaning, including a $20 chocolate martini mixer.
She gave me some post-it notes that don’t even have sticky on the backs.
So, I wasn’t mad, but I felt like I’d definitely Overdone It. This year, I resolved to be as minimal as I could, so I bought her a silly magnet and a box of silly political candy.
She gave me a maraca-esque instrument from Ghana. I mean, it wasn’t an outrageous step up from post-it notes – but it definitely seemed more thoughtful and tasteful than what I’d been expecting. So now I look like the dolt.
It’s treacherous, I tell you!
I love giving presents, and I hate giving them. I start really thinking hard about what someone might like and it practically sends me over the edge. Am I giving too much? Too little? Should I give something at all? Should I give something meaningful or tasteful? What about the people who don’t want any “things”?
Despite the nerve-wrackingness of it, though, I am COMPLETELY against the options of:
1) no presents,
2) presents that are purely do-gooder for the third world symbols,
3) buy your own and wrap them yourself presents,
4) or presents completely dictated by wish lists that are really just order forms.
That’s just crap. If you find gift exchanges so awful that you have resorted to one of the above, well, just stick with #1 and go shop for yourself or the third world whenever. Don’t even pretend Christmas. Just give it up.
I may be bad at it, but gift giving is an art, a gesture, a laying bare of the soul, and when it works, when you really cause someone delight and pleasure – well, all the disappointed faces matter not as your heart wells.