Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gift-Giving and You

As the holidays approach I have been thinking about gift-giving. Do you struggle with what to get people? I know I sure do sometimes, especially for little kids and men. Now women, I think are much easier. Let's face it, our stuff is way cooler! I am not a big fan of giving money but I do it because I don't want the hassle of returns for the kids and I don't want to mail things that can't be returned. With little kids growing so fast and not living nearby it is impossible to keep up. I would rather have mom and dad pick out things they want their kids to have anyway. I know it is extra work for them but they seem to like having the control.


The ideal situation for gift-giving is when you really know the person enough to know exactly what they will enjoy. Don't you just love it when you are out shopping and you see the perfect thing for a person on your list? I do. One of the things I try to do is really listen when people talk about the things they like. I'll make a mental note and then write it down when I get home and that helps a lot. ( I learned this in the dental office...they always write down things about you in your chart so it will appear they really know you well!) Does that burst your bubble about Dr. Soandso? Well, that is another story for another day.

I have to say I am not fond of buying men's things. Their gifts for the most part, are so....can you say....BORING? I have a hard time getting excited about socks, white shirts, ties and tools.

ho hum not ho,ho,ho!

The bigger problem I have with men in our family is they don't want anything. Hello, do you even get that? I rue the day there is nothing I want...I know I will be six feet under! That sounds so materialistic but I choose to think of it as having a lot of varied interests!

Of all the men I husband, son and brothers are the worst and my Dad was no help either..they don't ever seem to have any gift ideas for me. My sons by marriage are a little better~at least they have wish lists on Amazon! Granted, their wishes are perplexing, albeit tangible.

Here's one from Robert's, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. Huh? This is a gift idea? OK, then! He is so brilliant I wish I even knew what the Peloponnesian War was? (apparently spell check has never heard of it either at least not on my computer!) Mind you though, I am not complaining. I love having even an inkling of what to do. If they are happy, I am happy. Lowell has created a wish list too, I just haven't been able to find it yet. I love them all so much and want to give them something they want.

Now the girls ~ it's awesome fun shopping for them! We have so many more categories to choose from and so many options. Compare this to a rack of ties, row of white dress shirts or Sears tool department. I ask you where would you rather be? This is a no brainer!

I have to say I love being a female, don't you? The other thing I love about most women is their enthusiasm for gifts given and received! They will rarely toss your gift aside and keep it in the box in the closet for an entire year. But if they do, just re-wrap and give it to them again next year. I actually did that to Jim one year when I gave him a biking outfit that was very expensive and took every penny of my annual bonus from work. The following year, the re-wrap saved me money and to this day I do not know if he even remembered it. Oddly enough, the second time around he loved it...go figure! Maybe it was the paper?? More likely his world famous, robin egg blue biking shorts had mysteriously disappeared by then and he was in need.

What I love most about giving any gift is just letting that person know they are important to me and I want to give them something they will love. I know it is hit and miss, but I delight in those times when I just know it was the right choice, right on target, maybe even a bull's eye. Then it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

Some Tips for Making it Easier for Others to Buy a Gift for You
  • Make a list and make it available on Amazon or somewhere (like I have done on my side-bar.) Hint hint!
  • If someone asks you what you would like, try getting back to them within the current decade, Gentlemen!
  • Occasionally talk about the things you love and that interest you.
  • Let them know when you have reached your limit on collectibles. If you don't want one more penguin...let them know in a passing conversation that your collection is now complete.
  • If you are a re-gifter remember who gave you what. No one wants to see their gift at the next white elephant exchange. Nor do they want to see it in different paper as a gift for them. I actually know people who have gotten back the gift they gave!
  • Realize that no one ever gives a gift hoping you won't like it. So practice being gracious and acting like you love it for their sake. I'm not saying you should be deceitful, just be kind and it will not kill you to show a little enthusiasm for their effort, if nothing else. This is
    Gift Receiving Manners 101, not rocket science...teach it to your kids!

Happy shopping and even better..coming up with creative ways to say, " I love you" that don't cost a lot but ~ mean a lot. And, if you are a type A, that doesn't mean add a whole bunch of homemade gifts to your already too full "to do" list, so that you either feel guilty if you can't or exhausted if you do.

Just be creative and make it fun. Christmas and gift-giving are to be enjoyed. I think we can keep the magic in it if we simplify and make it something other than work, work, work! In this time of economic distress, less can and should be more anyway....



Deanna said...

Bonnie, I have been giggling non-stop since reading your last post. How true it is though. I let my husband buy his own Christmas present and then it usually turns out to be quite extravagant! He is so giving to himself..hahaha.

I guess I too will hae to start thinking about what to get my family......(deep groan here)

I do love to decorate though, that is probably my favorite part of the Christmas holidays.Oh, and eating all the goodies that are so bad for us!

P.S. I going to Wikipedia pronto to find out what the Peloponesian War is.....(the mind boggles)

Have a blessed day!

Laura said...

Hmmmm. I know a couple guys that would probably LOVE that book about the P------- war. Yeah, I couldn't remember the name, but I will have to look back, and probably buy that book for some people that are brilliant on my list---I never know what they would want, that helps, thanks!!! It can be a lot easier to shop for the girls.

laura.elizabeth said...

MOm you are SO funny- I am still giggling! I completely agree with all of your thoughts on gift giving (no surprise there, hu?) especially on giving gifts to my husband! His list on Amazon puzzles me every time I see it. Seriously, when I look at it I think I must be living with a stranger. How on earth could he REALLY be interested in the things that I like to do and talk about and read when what he really wants for Christmas is a book about someplace I can't even pronounce! Momma Mia! Actually it is probably a good thing his wish list is short- the boys and I more than make up for it in the long run. Anyway... I love you! Thanks for making me smile today!

mandy* said...

I loved reading this post!! Did you really re-wrap Jim's gift?? That is hilarious!!!! I'm all about lists. It seems a little selfish, but I don't care. At least people know what I want, right??? Mark married into a list family. It took him a little while to get used to it, but now he fully supports list making. (Usually because my mom tries to get everything on it...she is so good at spoiling us.) Anyway, thanks for the enteraining post!