Tis the season to start looking at gifts, if you haven’t already. And tis the season to consider what gifts actually are.
I wrote about the matter of Christmas costs last year and that post is still valid. Since then not much has changed other than how I see gifts. You see, I always thought of gifts as means of expressing affection for those around me. And this stands as far as gifting to my family goes. But gifting is also an important tool in making yourself memorable to the receiver and forging a stronger connection. You can view this as materialistic, but honestly, welcome to the first world economy. Most humans like the idea of receiving a gift, especially a small and thoughtful one, because the gift means more than just the thing it contains – it means that the person who gave it to you has taken the time to consider your existence in their life and decided that it’s important enough to be acknowledged by an offering of a tangible object.
So if you didn’t feel the pressure of finding just the right thing for every single person in your life, time to start feeling the pressure.
I am joking of course.
As much as my perception of gifts has changed recently, my perception of what it takes to source them has also changed. It has never been easier to find something which another person will enjoy – honestly, it’s at the tips of our fingers most of the time. And as much as I personally dislike shopping, dredging through a shopping centre full of tired teenagers and, in the case of every Londoner, tourists who do not know how to move in a British crowd system, I do enjoy the idea of seeking out beautiful things. And it seldom entails physically fatiguing myself to and browsing in shops anymore.
Before going out to buy gifts, I spend a fair amount of time in deciding what the right thing for the person I am gifting to will be. What impression should the gift give? What emotions should it evoke? Will it fit with the gift receiver’s style and life philosophy? And then the secondary considerations…Should it be useful? Should it be decorative? Should it be more of a luxury or everyday item? And lastly, after I have an idea of the gift… Is this gift a projection of what I would like to receive and is there a chance that the gift receiver might dislike this gift?
I don’t have a decision tree but now that I am verbalizing my considerations maybe I should have one. And maybe you should have one too.
Once I have identified a suitable gift option, I will then take myself down to the shop that sells it to check it out in person. Or I will order it online if the brand does not have a shop, usually by mid-November in case I need to return it and source alternative. Such timeline and approach do mean that you have to think of things in advance and that’s a good thing – usually organizing yourself early will also save you a bit of cash because you are never under pressure to buy just the first thing that you see on Christmas Eve when you realized you don’t have a gift for that person. It also allows for less stress – let’s agree that there is enough of that in the holiday season already!
And a final piece of advice. If you are terribly stuck for ideas, give a consumable gift such as fancy tea, coffee or a box of chocolates. Avoid providing home baked goods for Christmas and other big holidays as an actual gift under the tree, but they make for great host/hostess offerings and pleasant ‘no occasion’ goodies.