Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughtless Gifts Take The Fun Out Of Giving, Receiving

Dear Tazi:

It's the gift-giving time of year again, and the economy is bad.  This is a combination that, in the past, has resulted in my receiving really bad gifts.  I would rather my friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones save their money than give me cheap items that I neither need, want, or have any use for whatsoever.

Last Christmas, my nephew gave me a copy of my favorite classic movie, Gone With the Wind....on VHS tape.  In case you are going to say that it's the thought that counts, know that it was obvious that he had picked it up at somebody's yard sale (the price dot was still on the back of it); I do not even own a VCR and have no way of playing the tape; and I already own a much nicer copy of it on Blu-Ray.  My nephew is in college, so he is not a young, clueless child.  Other gifts I received from people who felt obligated to buy me a gift included a set of plastic salt and pepper shakers with the matching napkin holder; a Christmas sweater (given to me on Christmas Day); a size 2XL two-piece bathing suit (I am a large woman, but not a 2XL and would never wear a two-piece anyway!); and, my personal "favorite", a Powerball ticket with the disclaimer that if it won I would have to split the winnings with the giver.  I no longer participate in the office Christmas exchange after getting cheated into accepting a summer themed shot glass that was on clearance at the local discount store for 75-cents (the price point was $20; there is no way that piece of [poopie] cost anywhere near $20!).

Tazi, I am not looking for bling or amazing swag under my Christmas tree; just a thoughtful gift that took some kind of effort on the part of the giver.  I have told my family that they need not worry about buying for me if they cannot afford it, but they insist on giving something because I "always give such great gifts"!  This year, I am considering making charitable donations to organizations that I know my loved ones support.  This way I get the joy of giving, a charity gets a much needed donation, and I don't have to worry about receiving needless junk in return for my "great gift".  However, I am afraid that some people might be offended that they are not getting a physical gift from me this year.  Can you think of a way that my plan can be tastefully executed?

Gifts In Bad Taste

Dear Gifts In Bad Taste:

So often, people feel obligated to give a gift to every member of their family, right down to their great-Aunt Tillie who they have not seen since last Christmas.  The "need" to give everyone a gift can get quite expensive, resulting in some questionable purchases.  The gifts you have been receiving are definitely inexpensive, but also uninspired, so I can see why you are upset.  It is not the cost of the gift that matters, but the thought that goes into it, and it appears that your loved ones do not think before purchasing your presents.

I have a few suggestions for gift-giving among you and your family that are not as extreme as writing a check to charity on behalf of someone else.  The first is try a Secret Santa gift exchange, like many people do at their office (I presume this is how you ended up with a 75-cent shot glass).  This method of gift giving is good natured and fun, and allows the gift-giver to spend more money on one present and less money overall since they are buying only one gift.

The second suggestion is a Yankee Swap, where each participant buys a thoughtful gift and participants choose a gift in turn and "swap" the gift taken for something they like better.  So long as everyone sticks to the rules (and an agreed upon price point), this is a fun way to exchange gifts.

The third suggestion is to simply not exchange gifts at all.  You could explain to your loved ones that your house is becoming overwhelmed with knick-knacks, scented candles, VHS tapes, and other presents given in thought of the holiday season.  From there, if you would like to make charitable donations on behalf of your loved ones, make certain that it is a cause that they support!  Some will be bitter about this choice - they would rather that you hand them the cash - but others will be touched by your kindness.

One last suggestion comes from my Mommie.  Her family has a silly tradition that they picked up from watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Christmas From the Dollar Store.  Silly gifts are purchased; a Yankee Swap commences; many laughs are shared; and nobody misses the traditional gift-giving exchange, which still takes place among the immediate family circles of parents/children/grandchildren, just not aunts/uncles/cousins/nephews/nieces/etc.

Be sure to check out "Hell Kitty"!

However you choose to celebrate the season, remember that it is the intangible gifts that we give each other - love, happiness, laughter, and kindness - that last the longest and mean the most!


Or you could just give yourself a present instead!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

No comments:

Post a Comment