You might note that, aside from this sleeping cat, beneath the tree is empty. Despite it being mid-December, it is devoid of all presents. This fact has led me to ponder the act of gifting. Here are a few thoughts.
1) When it comes to host/hostess gifts, just take one. Or, they have every right to spit in your punch. If you show up empty handed, the effervescence in your glass will not be from champagne.
2) There are always debates on whether or not to regift, and I'd love to hear how you feel about it. I, personally, see nothing wrong with passing on an item that you don't like to someone who would love it, on ONE condition...that it was new when it came to you. I have one relative who, I swear, just grabs things out of her closet or from a shelf, blows the dust off of it, and shoves it in a gift bag. When she gives it to you, she explains, "It's an antique. Seriously, it is real vintage. Retro is all the rage this year." No, bitch, it's a tacky figurine that you bought from a souvenir shop in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1975.
3) When it comes to gifts, stay away from the three A's--art, animals, and activities.
Art is subjective. A masterpiece to one person may be just a bunch of paint splattered on a canvas to someone else. There is nothing more annoying than having to rush and grab a hammer and nails to hang a picture when the friend who gave it to you does a drop-by, so you don't hurt their feelings. I suggest just leaving a hanger on the wall.
Animals. I love animals...all animals, but unless you are willing to pet sit at any time with no notice and pay the vet bills when Fluffy eats a poinsettia, then don't buy an animal.
Activities - gifts should not require that the receiver has to sweat or cook or get rubbed by some stranger in order to fully take advantage of your generosity. Don't assume the only reason poor Aunt Irma has never zip lined is because she hasn't had the opportunity. Maybe she's afraid of heights or has hemorrhoids. And, if they don't use it, they feel guilty. Guilt the gift that keeps on giving.
4) If you want to make it easy for people to buy for you, develop either a hobby (for Frank, anything BMX or boat works) or a collection. I have one friend who used to collect everything, including cookie jars, rubber ducks, salt and pepper shakers, decorative plates, and anything cow-themed. This made it a joy to shop for him, then he embraced minimalism. So, this Christmas, out of respect, I'm not buying him shit.
5) Surprises are for suckers. Even Santa needs a list to make certain that all the good boys and girls get what they want. Print out a list of items in all price ranges, in large print, and pass it out to all the people who you know will feel compelled to buy you a gift.
Or you can avoid all of the above, by getting everyone the perfect present--the gift of altruism. Although psychologists argue exactly why (check out this article, This is Your Brain on Charitable Giving), donating to worthy causes or those less fortunate makes people feel warm and happy, and that's what a gift should do. So, head on over to GoodGiving.net and purchase a gift card. You pick the amount, the recipient picks the charity, and the organization gets the money. It's a win, win, win!
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.