As the holidays are approaching and many of us like to do the shopping in advance (I think it’s wise to do so, so that you can properly enjoy the month of December without having to face the stress of last minute shopping), I wanted to share a few thoughts on giving gifts. You won’t find here any gift lists – I often consider them useless and I usually fail to see anything but their commercial side. A gift is something very personal, something that should be shaped on the personality and tastes of the future recipient, and I don’t think drawing up endless shopping guidelines is very helpful in trying to find that special something for the ones we love.
A comment from Lauren Bacall’s autobiography comes to my mind, saying that Bogart hated calendar occasions, like Christmas, and considered to be much more fun and meaningful to buy a gift for no reason at all (so very Bogie!). I agree, that kind of a token of love and appreciation is all the more special and always pleases me more. But I also agree that a Christmas present thoughtfully chosen and given from the heart can be just as appreciated and welcome. It doesn’t have to be spectacular or expensive to make an impression, but you have to put your heart into it. It always shows, regardless of how insignificant it may seem.
Never settle for the second best when you buy a present. Even if I am on a budget, I always buy something more than I can afford when it comes to gifts. I’d rather spend a little less on me. If a girlfriend of mine has similar tastes with mine, I always choose what I would love the most to receive if I were in her place. I also often consider the recipient’s hobbies and interests, because even if nothing gives me more joy than getting a book as present, no matter the occasion, I am well aware that not everyone shares my passion.
In time, I have also learned that, even when it comes to your parents, or even grandparents, although they may not say it, they always prefer to be given something that they might want and will not have to share with the entire family, like homeware or kitchenware. It must be something just for her or him, because gifting requires that kind of true consideration. Of course there are people who enjoy collecting ceramics or other decorative objects and contributing to their hobby is certainly a good idea.
But come to think of the real value of a present, why do you think our hearts melt when a child offers us a gift? Whether handmade or bought with the pocket money saved for weeks or months, you know that that little something is especially made (with much care) or chosen (with much effort and emotion) for you, and that feeling can not be beaten by the most expensive gift you may receive on the side.
The more I think of it, the more I realise I would like to establish a tradition of sorts on Christmas as far as the gift giving part is considered as well. “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store”. Not any given store, anyway, and coming in the form of something that certainly doesn’t require more money, but that bears a little more thoughtfulness and unconditional joy.
photo: Laurie Frankel for Fresh Holidays Campaign 2013, via LatteLisa