As we approach Christmas, I reflect on the gift giving process.
While I think gift giving is nice, I think it also has some really bad parts too. Like when I get a gift I don't like, and need to figure out whether I should tell the person, hide it, re-gift it, or just toss it out. Or if I am borderline liking it, then it becomes harder to figure out whether to get rid of it.
Fewer and far between are gifts that I absolutely LOVE. But that's near impossible with a guy like me. Why? It's because I have this annoying tendency to just go a buy whatever I need or want...immediately. Thus, when my birthday or Christmas rolls around, I pretty have whatever it is I need because I'm impatient and wanted it the moment I thought of it.
Being an early adopter doesn't help either; that means I've got the latest of whatever it is that is out there, so it's hard to beat whatever it is feature-wise.
Also, now that I'm in a reductionist mode for my life, I almost don't want anything extraneous. As I move into my new place, I'm trying to get of stuff in my life, not add! So it's hard to be happy with things that aren't absolutely on my must-have list as I'm thinking about throwing and giving things away!
For the reductionist, early adopter, guy who has everything, I offer some tips on buying Christmas gifts, which could apply to me, but I think could also apply to just anyone:
1. Go for the "absolutely LOVE it" gift. Challenge yourself. Because if you don't, you run the risk of raising the anxiety level of the receiver and he/she decides on whether or not to re-gift or toss it, and the gift may actually be re-gifted or tossed. So don't just buy anything for the sake of being politically correct in giving something. It's a waste: go for the gold or stay home.
2. If you can't satisfy 1, my advice is to just give something more transient. How about wine? A coupon for dinner at a restaurant of my choice? A round of drinks? A movie? A hug? Remember it's the thought that counts. Or don't give an actual something at all. Just give your love and/or friendship. It's more than enough and longer lasting than a THING.
3. How to achieve 1? I think the best way is to get to know the receiver very well. What kind of person are they like? What do they like or not like? What do they like doing? Listen to them over the course of the year; have they dropped hints on what they might want or need? Remember these and/or write them down. Ask in sneaky ways what they might want; find ways to ask without coming out and asking them directly. Even if you don't figure out what they want, you've at least gotten to know someone close to you very well. Isn't that a nice reward on top of everything?
4. Size matters. If you can't achieve 1, and you don't want to do something transient or you feel like your love and/or friendship isn't worthy enough to give (haha), then size matters. Give something small. A book. A deck of cards. A watch. A calculator. Something tiny. Because reductionist people don't have much space, so don't make them compete between open space in their tiny reductionist condo and your gift.
Merry Christmas everyone and may your gift giving adventures be fruitful, rewarding, and not wasteful.