With Christmas only 9 days away, I thought I’d write about the art of gift giving, and the Secret Santa gifts no one really wants. If you’ve ever received a hideous gift, the kind you look at and wonder what the heck was the person thinking, then you know what I’m talking about.
This year my neighbor participated in a Secret Santa exchange at work. The idea was to spend $10 on the gift, but not everyone follows through on that commitment. Whether it has to do with lack of time, or just laziness, I don’t know, but her gift this year was a used curling iron with gunk all over the wand. She never did find out who pulled the female name, but she was sure upset when she followed the rules and bought something nice for a male. I suppose whoever gave the gift thought they were being funny, but she found little humor in it.
And what about the person who has a reputation for giving weird gifts? I think the worst part of receiving gifts is opening them in front of the giver. What do you do when it’s a dreadful gift? Unless you’re taking acting lessons, this can be pretty tricky. I’m one of those people whose face shows every emotion I’m feeling. I’ve never been very good about hiding my feelings, try as I might—but I’m learning.
So what do you buy? In my husband’s family, everyone makes up a list of what they want for Christmas. Truth be told, I don’t like this idea at all. Where’s the surprise in that? Sure, we did that as kids, but the list was a foot long, not one item on the list.
Another thing that irritates me is the exchanging of gift cards in the same dollar amount. That’s like giving back the money we each spent. So why do I need a gift card in the same dollar amount you gave me?
My personal preference for buying a gift is to give the person something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. And if your buying for kids for example, please don’t ask their parents because chances are it’s going to be something educational. Sure, that’s a noble objective, but kids don’t want something educational—they’re in school all week. They want a Harry Potter DS DVD or something fun.
I can remember when our grandson was 5 years old. We bought him what his father said he should have. When Peter opened the gift, he made a face and handed it back to us saying, “I don’t want this.” True, it was rude, and he got a good tongue lashing for it, but be the aunt or grandparent whose gifts are looked forward to.
Let’s face it. It takes time and thought to give the perfect gift. Unfortunately, in today’s hustle bustle world, no one takes the time anymore. Try listening when people talk and make mental notes about the things they’ve mentioned they want. Chances are it’ll be a big hit and they probably won’t even remember having mentioned it, but so glad they did.
So what do you do with gifts you don’t want or like? Do you recycle, sell it at a garage sale, exchange it, tuck it away in a drawer somewhere, or give it to Goodwill?