Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Art of the Gift

Obligifting (v) - Ob-li-gift-ing ... Giving a gift mostly because one feels one must. From the root word Obligift (n).

Now that we’ve survived another holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the art of gift giving.

Let me preface with this - I am an awful person to choose a gift for. There have been numerous times when, upon opening a gift, my first comment was, “Did you keep the receipt?” So now you know.

I may not always score, but I do feel the need to really spend time and thought on the person’s gift...what might he/she like/need/want, that is within my budget? I’m even a big fan of re-gifting, but only in that case that I truly believe that gift is something the person would really enjoy. Even when I buy greeting cards, it often takes me a long time (and several stores) to find the one that really suits that person.

Is it my imagination, or does it seem that many people just want to get the giving over with? (If this was Sex and the City, that would be the line that would show up on your TV.)

-I received a pair of Native American-style turquoise and red earrings. You only have to know me about 5 minutes to know that is so not my style (lovely though they may be.) And this did not come from an acquaintance but from one of my close friends.

-A good friend bought me candles. I am a candlemaker (or Chandler for those in the know.) Need I say more?

-A man I’ll call “Len” feels no cold. Seriously. It will be 30 degrees out and when I ask if he feels the chill he answers, “no.” He owns no jackets, no sweaters, not even a long sleeve shirt. He wears nothing but short sleeve cotton summer shirts all year long. This year someone gave him a leather jacket. This same man is severely diabetic. He also received a bag of candy.

-A good friend gave me a 12 cup self-cleaning coffee maker. His reasoning? Mine was dirty (yes, I’m a slob but that’s a blog for another day.) I live alone and make my coffee one cup at a time because I can only tolerate fresh coffee. (In his defense, he’s also given me 2 of the best gifts EVER so he probably shouldn’t be included here, but on the surface, this sounds like a fine example.)

In conclusion, they say “It’s the thought that counts.” But all too often it seems to me that the giver is only thinking of the obligation.

Either that or I’m an ungrateful b*tch.


  1. Your post made me chuckle! I guess everyone doesn't put the same amount of thought/time into picking out gifts. And part of that is due to the season being so hectic I think. I always get a list from family members so I get something they really want.

    I didn't know you made candles!

  2. Hahahaha your post made me laugh - loudly. I don't know what it is about gift giving that brings out the best or the worst in people. I've been given some of the strangest gifts over the years from people who were supposed to know me - not! Brings back the memory of being 16 and overweight. It was my "Sweet Sixteen" and the 60's - the era of Twiggy - I could have been 130 pounds and i would have still been thought of as fat. My extended family didn't really know what to give me so I received 7 pairs of gloves and 4 scarves. As if nothing else would have fit me??

    I love re-gifting and think of it as an art form. I used to feel a bit guilty but no longer - now I see it as environmentally sound and fitting with my desire to have less clutter in my life.

  3. I'm a big fan of the random gifting. I like to give presents for no particular reason -- holidays put me on the spot and stress me out. But if I see something and it hits me that "OH! So-and-so would LOVE that!", I'll get it. Much more fun, I think.

  4. This is one of the funniest blogs ever, if at the very least because it's so true. But, is it better to not give at all??? That's the question. To give thoughtless gifts or not give at all?

  5. ChezChani,

    Interesting and a few comments also made me chuckle. I am a poor gifter, 99% of any gifts we give for birthdays, etc. are either made by (jewelry, of course) or bought by wife Barb. I assume "regifting" is passing on to another a gift you got that you did not need or cannot return due to lack of the receipt.

    BTW - saw your post about the updated blog entry on Twitter; I rarely check or post on Twitter but should probably get with the program!

    Ken (1/2 of Magpiedreams)