Gift-Giving: Is It Really the Thought That Counts?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/9/2008 7:00 PM   :  102 comments

Have you ever had one of those awkward moments where the gift you gave didn’t compare very well to the one you got?

Maybe your gift was a lot cheaper than the one you got, or vice-versa. Or the present you gave was very nice, but pretty impersonal, while the gift you got was obviously selected with a lot of care and thought.

I can still vividly remember quite a few times when a gift I thought was pretty cool got me in the doghouse, for reasons I didn't understand. Maybe this happens to men more often than women, but it definitely takes a lot of the fun out of gift giving for everyone.

If you have a few of these bad experiences in your gift-giving history, the upcoming holidays might be a real source of anxiety and trepidation. Are you going to blow it again? How do you figure out what gift to give? You can’t go overboard just to make sure your present is the best, because that will make the other person just as uncomfortable as you are when your gift is the “inferior” one. Somehow, you have to figure out how to get it just right, and that can be pretty stressful.

Sure, people may say “it’s the thought that counts,” and act like it’s no big deal when a gift comes up a bit flat. And usually, that’s what we actually want to believe.

But obviously this is one of those situations where our thoughts and our feelings aren’t playing by the same rules. Mismatched gifts often do make people uncomfortable. What’s going on here?


Experts say there are probably several things going on. One is that exchanging gifts naturally triggers our innate “reciprocity calculator.” For social animals like us, the ability to recognize when the constant give and take involved in our social relationships is out of balance is pretty crucial for survival. It’s perfectly natural—and necessary—to feel some guilt, shame, or discomfort when we get more than we give, and disappointment, anger, or resentment when we give more than we get. Without these feelings, we’d all be sociopaths, out to get the best of everyone else, and no society or relationship could survive very long.

Just calling something a “gift” doesn’t turn your reciprocity calculator off. In fact, it may even throw it into high gear, especially when gifts are being exchanged with significant others you know well. That’s because we usually expect that the people we are closest to will know us well enough to give us a “good” present—not expensive or fancy, necessarily, but something that suits us and our personal desires pretty well. Another off the rack necktie or a new vacuum cleaner just isn’t going to cut the mustard when you’re looking for something that reflects and expresses your personal connections with the giver.

As this research shows, several other factors also influence reactions to the gifts we get, including gender and the nature of the relationship between giver and receiver.

Unfortunately, though, turning all this information into the ability to pick the right gift for the right person is far from easy or automatic. That still seems to be more art--and good communication--than science.

But at least it might help to know that all this stuff is often going on, whether people are aware of it or not. That way, you can at least talk about problems if they arise, or head them off in advance, instead of feeling like you really are from another planet, or wondering why someone isn’t speaking to you at the moment, despite that great gift you just gave them.

What do you think? Have you had any really bad--or good--gift giving experiences? What have you learned from them?



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Comments

  • 52
    Gifts are a real reason that my former husband is former and still brings a lot of pain. It was usually he didn't have any money or couldn't be bothered to find anything. It was his utter lack of caring that came through loud and clear. One Christmas we were so poor that there was no money for gifts. Our son was very small, so I used the money I had saved over the year for my husband and bought my some a very small gift. It was all he got. My husband had a fit because he didn't get a gift. Selfishness shows through.

    With my family, we drew names and set money limits until the youngsters got to big. With friends, we've only exchanged cards.

    With gifts, it is the thought put into it that counts. - 12/10/2008   12:37:07 PM
  • 51
    Gift giving is my love language, so I know I put more emphais on it than is fair. I am working on that! :) I LOVE giving gifts. To anyone, anytime. It has hurt our budget, though, so again, I am working on that!

    I have had good and bad experiences with gift giving and something I have learned with the bad is that while gift giving is wonderful to me, not everyone cares about them as much as I do.

    Contrary to what you might be thinking, I learned this lesson from giving great gifts! I get so excited, knowing I nailed it. Then sometimes I would get no response at all. I would be left feeling really confused and only THEN start wondering about the money and time I put into it.

    I am learning gift giving is personal and just because I give a killer gift to my mother-in-law, it doesn't mean that she is actually going to like me any better. Usually it means she feels invaded, that I know her too well and that I stepped on her husband's toes because my gift was 'better' than his!

    This year, because of money more than anything, we are keeping gifts to just the immediate family. I wish I could say I am wiser, but if we had the money, I know I would go out and get what I think would be the perfect things for everyone I know. I am hopeless! - 12/10/2008   12:28:35 PM
  • 50
    All these bad feelings about gifts! I'm with Bronte7723 on this one. It IS the thought that goes in to the gift and to get that good thought, you have to pay attention all year long. When my husband and I were married, I told him right off the bat that if he ever gave me an appliance for Christmas I would divorce him immediately. I had to rescind that order one Christmas when I actually really wanted a bread maker! And sometimes just giving money is appropriate to help the person or couple buy what they really want. This year one granddaughter will get money to go towards a computer she is saving for. I usually tip during the holidays to folks who've served my all year, but this year my manicurist expressed a wish to see the Nutcracker, but her husband hates ballet, so I bought two tickets and we are going together! And if you think money is too impersonal, you haven't been on a strict budget before, so don't feel bad about a gift of cash. That teenager would rather buy his own music and it's probably downloadable anyway.....

    And I do love the "just because..." gifts I get and receive and I love Christmas! - 12/10/2008   11:39:54 AM
  • 49
    I love giving gifts, and most of the time, enjoy receiving them. I hate exchanging gifts...and I try not to. I give gifts to the people I want to give to...and don't ever consider what they may or may not give me.

    To celebrate Christmas, I give gifts. If by chance, I should receive some, I accept them graciously. I use them and enjoy them if I can, and dispose of them discreetly if I can't. - 12/10/2008   11:11:01 AM
  • 48
    I once had a fitness trainer who gave her children three gifts each year at Xmas and only three gifts. Why? Because that's what the baby Jesus received from the Three Wisemen. I love that!!
    I love to give gifts more than I love to get them. It's easy to wow some and harder to wow others, but since most of my gifts are home made (well, studio made...I am a professional ceramic artist) they are especially appreciated and that always makes me smile. I DO think it's the thought that counts. - 12/10/2008   11:00:42 AM
  • 47
    It seems like so many have forgotten the reason for giving gifts...it's not to be a burden to us, but to give something of ourselves and bring us joy, as well as to those who receive it. When receiving a gift (no matter how seemingly unthoughful), I think it's important to always be grateful and accept it graciously. Honestly, they didn't have to get you anything in the first place. The giver actually had to THINK of you and what you might want...how could that be so bad, even if they get it wrong? - 12/10/2008   10:20:37 AM
  • 46
    My boyfriend buys the best presents for me. I'm very lucky! And, we decided this year to only buy for the kids in our families and kids of friends and each other and that's it! We are trying not to over do it like we did last year. - 12/10/2008   10:15:42 AM
  • 45
    The worst present I ever received was from my first husband. Our first Christmas together as husband and wife he gave me an iron. I think this explains why he was an ex!

    This year at Thanksgiving we all made a pact for no gift giving except to the children, which is great since there are only two of them. This means I can spend a bit more on each of them and have more fun visiting with the adults and not wonder if they will like their present or not. - 12/10/2008   10:06:27 AM
  • AFBDIET08
    44
    When it comes to family I have it easier with my own because we usually get and give more equally. My husband's family on the other hand gives cheap. The only exception is widowed mother-in-law who always puts thought and effort into it to get something nice.
    This is true of my husband as well - he usually waits until the last minute and then just grabs something. You would think after 13 years of marriage he would have some clue as to what I like. However, this year he's actually gone out early to shop, so maybe I've got a chance at something special this year.
    As for the family I think its high time we started drawing names! I'll suggest it next year.
    - 12/10/2008   9:52:22 AM
  • CHRISTIEHAYS
    43
    Last year we started the family wish list email. Around Thanksgiving "Santa" aka my Dad will send out an email asking us what we want....we hit reply to all and list out things that we really want/need. It really makes the gift buying experience and gift receiving experience so much more fun because you know you are getting someone what they really want and you can look forward to what you asked for. My Sister In Law described it as "Registering for Christmas."

    The real joy and fun on Christmas is spending time with everyone, laughing, eating and enjoying our family traditions.

    The times I do get frustrated are at gatherings with the White Elephant gift exchange. The price limits are always small and so its frustrating trying to find something nice that people would actually enjoy. I always want to bring something that won't get thrown in the trash on the way out the door...but I always seem to get the garbage that someone else brought. - 12/10/2008   9:37:08 AM
  • 42
    Bad gift giving experiences....at 25 someone game me a set of anti-aging creams. I had a strained relationship with this person to begin with, and that certainly didn't help! - 12/10/2008   9:31:16 AM
  • 41
    I have semi-consciously shrunk my list over the years. Although I haven't really throught of this until now, the recipients fall into one of 3 categories: immediate family (spouse, children, sibling), obligatory (service people or a few that still insist on giving me a gift every year, and just cause I wanna. Since immediate family is long standing, we pretty much know what we give and get (generally speaking) and inequality of gifts are not an issue because we understand each other's patterns, economic situations, and time constraints. For the other 2 categories I generally give "small" but "thoughtful" gifts (under $10 or homemade). That way it discourages the recipients from feeling they need to outdo me or feeling bad if they didn't buy me a gift. Even with this strategy, I don't stress a bit over who to get gifts for and what to give them, but that is of my own doing. Since my list is relatively short, it allows me to put more thought and effort into the gifts I do give, and that is the way I want it to be. - 12/10/2008   9:29:48 AM
  • 40
    We quit exchanging Christmas gifts years ago. Instead, we send Thanksgiving gifts to those who made our yr special. Otherwise, we give gifts all yr long & do not believe the reason for Christmas season is to go shopping.

    We have also drastically reduced our decorating. It too was getting out of control & becomming a neighborhood competition. It is part of our downsizing & household inventory reduction plan. - 12/10/2008   9:27:35 AM
  • BRONZEQUEEN41
    39
    I use to give to all my family and two best girlfriends and their children (2 a piece) and co-workers years ago. I stopped one year when at my mom's house everybody got gifts except me and my children and that hurt me more than anything. Yes, we say it's better to give than to receive, but every now and again you want to receive. Now I only buy for my children and if we do something at work I will participate in that. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. - 12/10/2008   9:18:02 AM
  • BREONI
    38
    For my immediate family members (brothers, sisters-in-law, neice, nephews and my dad), I spend a LOT of time thinking about the perfect gift and then finding a way to work it into my budget all year round. I truly enjoy making as many of the gifts as possible - anything from quilts to photo books. I get the most excitement on Christmas morning watching my family open the gifts that I've selected for them. One of my most fond memories from last year was my older brother opening the 1970s tupperware sugar shaker that was identical to the one we had as kids. Too funny!

    For my friends, now that we all live in different states, we have simply agreed to forego any gift-giving throughout the year. Instead, we put that money toward a plane ticket to visit each other once a year. And that is the BEST gift!

    I've had a long string of really bizzarre gifts given to me (a wicker basket with a porcelain Cupie doll head on the top, items that were obviously re-gifted to me, and gifts that showed that the giver did not know me in the least - such as clearance socks and a cheap bracelet that was bought at a teen store and there was no way it was going to fit. Because it's tradition in our family to give gifts, I now provide a list to those who ask, making sure it contains items in all ranges. While it takes some of the surprise out of it, that way I know I will get something I can use, and it takes the stress off my family members. - 12/10/2008   9:12:03 AM
  • 37
    I haven't really had any bad gift giving experiences. I give out cookie trays. I spend 2 months baking but I love it and it relaxes me. I do give stockings to the neighborhood kids every year that run in and out:) I love Christmas. - 12/10/2008   9:10:06 AM
  • 36
    Yes! This is why I have stopped exchanging gifts.

    I was the person trying to find the right gift for the other person. What I would receive was the gift the other person wanted for themselves.

    It is still awkward but I simply will not exchange gifts anymore. And only token gifts are accepted now. - 12/10/2008   9:07:28 AM
  • 35
    It's a running joke between my sister and I as to which husband buys the most un-romantic gift at Christmas. We know it's the thoughts that count, but we have a good time comparing gifts. One Christmas I thought I couldn't lose - it turned out we both got 4 snow tires for our cars! Gotta love those guys! - 12/10/2008   9:05:05 AM
  • 34
    The worst gift I got was from my Mother-in-law. One Christmas she got me a coffee mug with an astrology sign on it, my husbands sign not mine and I don't even believe in astrology. Later in her life I learned to love her and respect that she ment well . With her limited resources she did the best she could. - 12/10/2008   8:58:52 AM
  • 33
    i need to cut out people this year and just keep things simple! - 12/10/2008   8:57:50 AM
  • 32
    It's my feeling that Christmas has gotten out of hand. If people really celebrated the meaning of Christmas -- there probably wouldn't be as many homeless, churches would have money to do good works - food pantries, family assistance.

    I've cut back a lot this year on gift buying. I want to be able to donate time and money to good causes.

    I don't want the stress of spending money I don't have at this time of the year.

    I have want I need and usually what I want -- so I don't really want others to spend money on me and make their life more difficult either. - 12/10/2008   8:36:03 AM
  • TALSHIAR
    31
    In our family we used to buy for everyone else. As the family grew it got to me more stressful. We tried a couple times to just stop, but not everyone would follow it and it made the rest of us feel we had to buy. Eventually due to money, health, or time we had to stop. Each individual family still buys for kids, etc but we don't do the group anymore. Now when we get together for Christmas we enjoy a good meal, catch up on things happening with each other, play games, and have fun. It is far less stressful and if we want to do something for the person, we actually do things throughout the year and it's because we want to, not because we feel obligated. - 12/10/2008   7:26:48 AM
  • 30
    Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and when people hate it or would rather not celebrate it because they don't want to be buying gifts, well, they don't get what it is about. Besides the spiritual side for me, Christmas is a wonderful way to bring the year to a close - sharing love, friendship, warmth with those you WANT to spend time - celebrating your friendships - relationships - family members - who mean so much to you.

    When I was unemployed, I called those family members with whom I exchanged gifts and told them I was unable to do it that year because of limited funds. On Christmas Day, they had still bought for me, but I had no guilt - because I realized they gave me gifts because they loved me - not because of what I bought for them. An eye opening Christmas to say the least! I was grateful and enjoyed what they gave - even the one I had to return - to me, it meant so much that they understood and cared enough to spend time buying for me - even if it is picking something up on the way to my house! - 12/10/2008   7:19:36 AM
  • 29
    Christmas is a wonderful time but I agree that the gift giving can be stressful, particularly for those who seemingly have everything and you have very little to spend. Rather than give gifts to all adults in the family I give to my teenage nephews and nieces and yes it is the typical gift card where they usually go or better yet...the old Mastercard/Visa/Amex gift cards. Many are in very nominal amounts and can be put with money they usually receive at Christmas and they really do like getting that "extra" to spend with. To make Christmas even more personal, I will give out a card to all members of my family enclosing a written memory I have of a special Christmas with their mom or dad, the grandmother, etc...in the case of my siblings...a favorite memory of one of our family Christmases...in the case of mom, a memory of something she and dad did they made our holiday in years past a special one.

    - 12/10/2008   6:29:57 AM
  • 28
    I love giving gifts, it doesn't matter if I get one back, friendship is the best gift of all. But this year I am giving a lot of books and photo books and a monthly book called the Daily word with inspirational messages for each and every day of the year. You get a monthly subscription and is only 12.95 and 10.95 for additional orders. I am very active in my church and got married this year so photo books are great for those in my family. The only gift I don't care for is that every year my Aunt sends me that processed food and cheese box that cost her a fortune and is very unhealthy. But I have told her that we are all on diets and she still sends it so I guess she can't figure out anything else to buy. It will be great for holiday guests or for church friendship hour. Happy Holidays to all!
    Sincerely, Carol - 12/10/2008   6:11:39 AM
  • IMAGIN8
    27
    I despise the gift-giving tradition of Christmas, the fakery and hypocrisy of the "happy family sitting around the tree opening gifts" is pure torture for me to sit through. No thanks! My experience is that's it a show of one-upmanship and inconsiderate behaviour, designed to make people feel bad. I've seen it too often. I exchange one gift with my husband, and I buy one gift for my elderly parents to open. That's it. I like my family Christmas' long-distance, heh heh. It really is a terrible time of year for a great many people. - 12/10/2008   6:10:45 AM
  • BARBARASCH
    26
    I can only remember really one bad gift moment.. and I felt so sorry for my Mom, because she really gave some thoughts into it. She gave me a christmas decoration doll for christmas. The two of us have this christmas gene ;-) The doll was so cute, but my only thought was "what the heck am I supposed to do with it?" .. it was something you like to look at in the store, but would never buy. That was the first and only time, that I asked someone, if I could return the gift. I was feeling so bad for her, but didn`t see any good in taking it and putting it somewhere. And we do "Julklap" in our family (we are 14 people present at christmas eve). We pull names, so everyone has to buy only one gift.. and the one with the least amount of money (normally the youngest) sets the limit, the last years it had been between 50-70 Euros. We do this for 20 years now and our christmas eve is really relaxed.. this one present is a compromise... my dad wanted to eliminate the whole gift giving thing, when we started this.. instead donating to a good cause. We still do that, but we wanted to have at least one present to unwrap, feeling like a kid again ;-) - 12/10/2008   5:34:12 AM
  • 25
    I'm sorry that some have had bad gift-giving experiences. I'm thankful that the majority don't have the same opinion as Maleficent. And I'm SO happy to be able to celebrate the REAL (original) meaning behind Christmas...the celebration of the birth of Christ, who gave the greatest gift of all: His love & salvation!

    A merry & meaningful Christmas to one & all! - 12/10/2008   4:51:17 AM
  • 24
    It is the thought that counts, but not 'I thought of getting you a gift', but I put thought into what gift to get you.

    SO if you get me chocolate/jewellery/anything because you thought 'Oh no, I have to get Bronte a gift' and stop at the supermarket on the way to my place. That's not 'the thought that counts'.

    If you get me something where you have thought about me and what i like or need, then regardless of how much money you have spent on it, that's the thought that counts.

    It's not the thought of a gift, but the thought that has gone into it, that counts. - 12/10/2008   4:21:16 AM
  • 23
    /begin rant

    I'm so fed up with people and the gimmes and christmas and the obsessing over getting just the right gift for someone. There was another daily spark blog recently where the writer talked about the "burden" of christmas shopping.. You just want to slam that person's head into the monitor to give them a wake up call....

    Don't do it. gifts are optional and if you think it's anything but that you really need work on priorities

    just say no to gifts...

    people will get over it..

    turn christmas into something less commercial and maybe do something to celebrate the season of giving and give of themselves instead of some stupid gift that will get forgotten, broken or lost in a couple of months...

    if you like a person enough to give them something.. then tell them... do something nice that they will appreciate... and you'll feel better for.. Make it an action gift and not some crap they have to return... or better tell them how you feel about them... Show them how you feel...

    If it's an obligation gift - then well pass on it..

    /end rant.

    I hate christmas more than words can ever express.. Let's celebrate Groundhog day!!

    and I hate being asked what I want for christmas.. if I want something I'll buy it I'm not going to wait for someone else to buy it for me- Give me something that I can't buy myself...

    I really hate christmas..

    Bah Humbug - and I'll convert the ghosts of christmas past, present and future ad they come visit me into hating christmas as well :D - 12/10/2008   2:38:20 AM
  • KV711LAW
    22
    I love the *wish list* idea. Usually friends/family keep an on-going list on Amazon or similiar sites. Helps year-round and really keeps you in-tune to their likes/dislikes. - 12/10/2008   2:35:31 AM
  • EEKAMIGHTY
    21
    Another thing: I've asked in the past and am asking again this year, please don't give me a gift. My funds are limited and I don't want to exchange with every individual. I get for all the nieces, nephews and grand nieces/nephews. However, I have a friend and one sister who insist on giving me gifts. I know it brings them joy, but I allow it to make me feel guilty and I think it is crazy because my friend then doesn't have money to pay for things she is obligated to. I shouldn't let it get to me. - 12/10/2008   2:03:19 AM
  • EEKAMIGHTY
    20
    I love cats and have throughout my adult life (and most of childhood) had one or two as companions. My older sister used to get me any 'cat' ceramic, or nik-nak, etc for that reason. Most 'cat' things are NOT CUTE!!! Now mice things, bird things, etc are precious. I consistently felt like 'you should have saved your money' and felt guilty for feeling that way because then I felt obligated to keep it and display it in my house for years so it would be there when she would come by. I would try to hint at things I collected, in a kind way, but felt like a tramp nevertheless. She finally quit doing that a few years back and often picks up something off the end aisle in a store so she doesn't have to put much thought in it. At least she does something, I try to overthink and get totally stressed! Where is the happy medium between us? - 12/10/2008   1:50:15 AM
  • 19
    If the lines of communication are open, ask the other person what kinds of gifts they like and what turns them off. I once got a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. It was what I wanted so I was excited. I probably wouldn't have been terribly excited about power tools unless I was into carpentry. - 12/10/2008   1:04:55 AM
  • 18
    This year there will be no gift exchange within my family. I bought for the kids, that's all. All of the adults pooled the money they would have spent on each other and provided "Christmas" for a needy family, with children! All of the shopping is done! There is no, what to get who and rushing to meet a deadline! We will get together and have a nice visit and talk about the smiles on the childrens' faces when they see that Santa stopped by their house on Christmas Eve with new bicycles, clothes, and toys!! And know that the gift card for the local grocery store will go a long way to fill the tummys and the hearts of a family a little down on their luck!! It definitely made my Christmas merrier, and warmed my heart, remembering "The Spirit of Christmas" !
    - 12/10/2008   1:01:41 AM
  • SHERI1969
    17
    The only gifts I've given that were not appreciated were by my brother, his wife, and two children. I am on a disability pension and I handmake many of my gifts because I just don't have the money. When the kids were little, it was easy. I'd buy them arts and crafts supplies and they loved it. Now at 11 and 15, they are fussy and want all the electrical fancy gadgets out there...the ones their bedrooms don't have yet, and that's not many.
    My niece likes to dress like me so I made her a winter outfit of hat, hand muffs, scarf and mittens in her favourite colour. She liked it...sort of. But her brother didn't even blink when he tossed it. I've given hand made items, that took a great deal of time and effort to make, and my brother and his wife just throw them out. Soooo, this year, none of them are getting gifts. I'm making stressballs for my parents and my aunt and uncle who are regulars at Christmas. If they can't accept what I give them, then they get nothing. The same as for their birthdays this year, they got nothing. Consequences. - 12/10/2008   12:49:39 AM
  • BJPETER
    16
    When it comes to gift given I usually look around for something I like and would not get for myself and it has always paid off. At one of our christmas gift exchange at work we limited it to a 10.00 gift. When gifts were exchanged I recieved a 1.00 gift from the dollar store, and never gave it a second thought because the person I got it from didn't have money for food let alone a gift, and I was thankful I got it and not someone else. Ever year I place the item on my
    TVand when she comes over she knows I cherrish the thought. - 12/9/2008   11:24:19 PM
  • 15
    For so many years I was away for holidays, (& I have never been one to remember in December where I put that fantastic gift I found in February), so I now do like one of the earlier commentors and give the gift whenever I find it. That REALLY confuses people--and I like helping those I love stay on their toes. It's more fun and each present really stands out. Not only that, but the pressure is off--I don't HAVE to find something for each person by any given moment. I do keep track, so that I balance those friends I have who are accountant types.
    The reciprocity bit intrigues me--just another material way of measuring who loves whom most. Weird, aren't we? - 12/9/2008   11:13:39 PM
  • 14
    The thought isnt what matters all the time. I had an evil husband once and he gave me toilet paper and those paper roll that hold quarters for christmas. Now how was it that it was the thought that mattered. - 12/9/2008   10:53:32 PM
  • ZERSOFF
    13
    I believe that "it's the thought that counts," but not in the usual sense. I try to make the gifts I give as personal and individualized as possible, so that they are a good fit for the person receiving them. However, I don't give gifts to everyone (only to a few people I know well enough to give a personal gift to), and since I'm a student, my gifts are not usually expensive. Most of the time my gifts will be small and non-traditional but also nod to some personality trait that I appreciate about this particular friend: their sense of humor or keen fashion sense, perhaps.

    If the thought counts more than the cost or fanciness of a gift, then that holds us accountable for giving gifts that are personal and thoughtful, and that suggest to that friend or family member what you really love and appreciate about them. That's the true Christmas spirit, isn't it? - 12/9/2008   10:45:22 PM
  • MISSAROSA1
    12
    I feel like this: life is too short. Give me my gift now. Don't wait for Christmas, birthday, or any other "special day" just give someone a gift. Why buy a gift in January to give to someone in December? That to me isn't giving much thought for the recipient. If you know someone who needs something, why wait for a particular to give it to them? Every day should be a holiday to give a gift to someone. I know someone who buys all kinds of things and keeps them in their garage, so when someone's "day" comes up, they just look in the garage and pick something out. - 12/9/2008   10:23:12 PM
  • BOWIECHICK
    11
    i HATE the holdays and i HATE having to give gifts just ebcause of them.grrr - 12/9/2008   10:18:01 PM
  • 10
    I have this problem really bad. I have actually told people I don't want to exchange gifts. They still insist. I have turned into a real scrooge. I have thought of going on vacations for Christmas and not even being around home during Christmas. But everyone expects me here. They just don't understand what a time I have of trying to get "the perfect gifts" for them. I was hoping you would have a few ideas. Thanks for letting me know that at least I am not the only one. - 12/9/2008   10:05:57 PM
  • 9
    Sometimes the answer is simply "yes". The thought counts and the "whatness" kind of counts too. As someone who generally doesn't get gifts, gotta say, any memento is sure nice. - 12/9/2008   9:59:31 PM
  • 8
    people often says it's the thought that counts when you have good intentions. when you think something bad people say "well you didnt DO it, you just THOUGHT it." So which is it??? - 12/9/2008   9:33:44 PM
  • 7
    What my immediate family did while I was at home was that we all wrote out Christmas lists and exchanged them. That way it was easy for all of us to get something that we knew the person wanted. Extended family was a different story, so I pretty much had to ask other family members what the others (not the actual person) needed or wanted. But a few years before I left home, we (extended family) stopped exchanging gifts b/c of financial and distance limitations.
    But last year and this year was a whole new ball game for me as I did not/am not going home for Christmas. Last year, I had my own financial limitations, but I gave two gifts to a couple that has been a great help to me upon meeting them now two years ago. But this year maybe I will send gifts home. I never did that before or been a receipent of that either. And mail cards as well. Haven't done that in a while. - 12/9/2008   9:29:58 PM
  • 6
    once someone gave me a gift card that had either been used or was given back after a return. it had an odd amount on it like $14.95 or something like that. weird. - 12/9/2008   9:28:03 PM
  • ANNIEMARIE6
    5
    I have a special girl friend and I exchange gifts at Chrismas and our Birthday.So what I do is simple, when ever we are together for lunch and shopping, we usually talk about every thing that is going on in our lives.I Iisten and usually she will say something like I would like this or that. So I just remember and that's how I know that whatever I get for her she loves. I am always surprised by the gifts she gives, because it's all ways some thing that I would like but I wont buy for myself. - 12/9/2008   8:34:42 PM
  • JAZZERCISEGENIE
    4
    I thought I was going to be one Kool grandma by buying a wii system for my house for 6 grandkids to share. it was a disastor and next year no gifts just money - 12/9/2008   8:28:19 PM
  • 3
    I LOVE finding just the right gift for someone I love! I'd be so bummed if I didn't have the opportunity to find just the thing that makes them smile. - 12/9/2008   7:31:07 PM

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