the Forgotten Art of Gift-Giving

My iphone cover is slightly embarrassing.  It is so sparkly (read bling!) that I have to hide it behind my hair whenever I answer the phone, particularly in professional contexts.  However, it makes me smile because it was given to me out of love by an eight-year-old.  She gave me what she would like herself and beams every time she sees me use it.  That’s enough reason for me to keep using it.

Being somewhat introspective at times, I’ve come to the realisation that my gift giving strategy is like that of an eight-year old.  I buy presents based on what I like, regardless of how it will be received by the other person.  Sometimes this works well (if I’m buying for a twenty-six year old female), but I don’t think a teenage boy appreciates being given a sportsgirl voucher.

As I think about this some more, I’ve come to realise that gift giving is an art and that some people are really good at it.  I can name every single present that my dear friend E has given me for the 6 years that we were in high school together- that’s because she understood me, took the time to notice and wasn’t stingy with her time nor resources.  They weren’t expensive gifts, but they were something that spoke exactly the right thing into my life at precisely the right time.  For example, when I was in high school I really wanted a trophy.  The problem with trophies is that they must be earned.  Being somewhat of an incompetent sports person, the only sport that I was vaguely good at was swimming.  So I joined the school swimming squad, practicing three times a week before school for a whole year – determined to win the end of year swimming meet.  I trained, I persevered and I won – only to realise that they give out medals for swimming, not trophies.  E noticed this….and for Christmas that year, she gave me a trophy for being a ‘champion friend’!

She’s the one who’s the Champion friend!!!  I went on to win a trophy for tennis a couple of years later – but in comparison – this trophy means much more to me.

T is someone else who is good at getting prezzies that make me smile.  Having noticed that I forever have problems with umbrellas which turn inside out (and often feel embarassed about this), he secretly ordered a Senz umbrella for me.  It’s aerodynamic, doesn’t flip, and should stand up to 80km/h!  Overpriced brolly- yes.  But totally happy – I bring it everywhere with me!

Do you struggle with giving meaningful gifts?  What strategies help you?

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