Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gift-giving dilemma

I'm very careful to talk to each of my local friends, and ensure that we're not going to exchange presents. I consider it a gift in itself -- "Don't worry about exchanging boxes of chocolates just because we feel we must!"

But then, I think nothing about bringing a bottle of wine to their place if invited over for a drink, or finding them something in, say, March, and thinking "oh, this would be perfect!"

Tonight, we had a local acquaintance over for dinner, on Christmas Eve, because otherwise she might have been alone. We've also got our friend from Vancouver staying for the Christmas holiday, because, well, he just needed to get away. For them, we took great delight in filling stockings with fun/silly stuff, which we opened tonight (Metro and I each had one too, which we'd filled for each other)...and it was just a delight. Metro really liked his inflatable parrot (for a Hallowe'en pirate costume) and his silly putty. I liked my little toy Santa Claus and the chocolate coins. Our guests got a kick out of the things we'd chosen for them. We took turns opening an item, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Metro points out: "The difference between the frenzy of gift giving and generosity is in the terms we use to define it. Generosity is about other people, while straight consumerism is how we want to be perceived."

Okay, I would agree. But I also think it's the onus of obligation and duty that seems to come with the social "holiday season" gift that annoys me. I can't just accept a gift from someone who wants to give me one -- I must reciprocate, and visa versa. I would love to give all my friends gifts, if I had the money...but I would hate for them to feel obliged to give me something in return. So, I give the gift of removing the obligation -- that extra step is deleted, and we can just get on with enjoying each other's company.

But tonight, an unexpected stocking full of silly goodness was, I believe, truly appreciated, and needs no reciprocation.

So, as my father would have said, "Merry Syphilis and a Clappy New Year." And remember that I did not haunt your dreams by elfing myself.



Sonia said...

I work at only giving gifts that I want to give that are person specific...I love giving gifts! So I would probably be on your been naughty list...I don't care if I get a gift in return...but on the other side of the coin if I havn't found the "right" gift you wouldn't get one! I would be stressed out that I didn't find the right gift...but would eventually get over it!

PJ said...

It is a dilemma... a friend committed a drive-by gifting at our place and the gift is something stunning. I hadn't planned to give them a gift -- now I feel uncomfortable. What to do?

Lori said...

PJ -- invite the friend over for dinner, and make your brilliant lasagna...

Sonia -- so if you don't find the 'right' gift, you don't get anything? Or do you have a classic stand-by? (