Up for Discussion: Gift Giving
Dec 13, 2010
For the past ten years or so, my parents have allowed encouraged me to pick out my own Christmas gifts. And as Belle goes, so goes the family. Thus, all of my immediate relatives are encouraged to select their own Christmas presents. The process for this selection is simple:
Step One: Tell Belle what you want. You may drop hints (as my Mother prefers) or you can just send her an e-mail with the link.
Step Two: Belle purchases said gift with Dad’s credit card and ships it to Dad’s office where it sits until;
Step Three: Belle comes to wrap said present and place it under the tree with a card filled out by the intended gift giver, typically Dad.
It is my opinion that choosing your own gift ensures that you will get the precise gift that you want. No muss, no fuss. Just a perfectly wrapped present under the tree. And I have no problem choosing my own gift, but it appears that my Mother does.
This weekend she expressed to me that she did not want the Lois Hill necklace that she’d been dropping hints about for 11 months straight. Why? Because I, her paternally empowered gift-buying daughter, had picked up the hints instead of my Father for whom the hints were intended. Thus, I had sucked the magic out of Christmas like some holiday sapping succubus.
Christmas gifts just aren’t the same, she argued, unless the giver magically knows exactly which gift will be perfect for the recipient without help from anyone. Because in her mind, you don’t know a person unless you can buy them the perfect gift. (This argument is greatly weakened by the fact that I have been choosing her presents to my Father for years.)
Why don’t I mind picking out my own gift? Sure, part of my reasoning is selfish. I’m difficult to buy for, and I want a gift that I will enjoy and use for years to come. I feel no shame in this because I believe that the “magic of Christmas” isn’t about presents. Presents are just a bonus. Thus, Christmas can still be full of magic and wonder even if you pick out your own present because the things that make the holidays truly memorable aren’t things.
Sure it would be great if everyone’s loved ones delivered the perfect gift every time, but how often does that really happen? Because if every gift giver was imbued with these magical powers, then the return line at Nordstrom’s would be a lot shorter on Dec. 26th. We’re all capable of delivering a really perfect gift every few years, but no one hits the bulls eye every time. So sometimes it’s good to throw up the white flag and say to your daughter, “What does your Mom want for Christmas?”
What do you ladies think? Is it perfectly acceptable to select your own present and purchase it with someone else’s money? Or is asking people what they want tantamount to slowly strangling Kris Kringle to death? And what about asking relatives to pick out presents for other relatives? I’d love to know your thoughts.