Ever had that moment when you are completely dumbstruck at giving gifts and feel like your valiant attempts at giving someone a present, especially during the festive season, are but pathetic, futile attempts and you just want to get sucked in a black hole every time the holiday season comes rolling by?
I’ve been there.
In fact, I’m a serial gift-murderer. I remember participating for a Christmas game where you had to choose from a stack of presents people had made. (See, I don’t even remember the damn name of the game! I AM HORRIBLE.) The budget was $10. For two years, I gifted a $10 bejeweled ring from Forever 21 and a trio of spicy sauces from Marks & Spencer and Daiso.
Sometimes, I even wonder how an abomination like myself survives.
I don’t remember birthdays because the trouble of gift-giving and not embarassing myself in that process outweighs the need to actually celebrate a birthday. I once contemplated giving someone a Facebook present. I know: kill me now.
My best friend probably hates me because I keep backing out on gift-giving even though she gives me thoughtful gifts that make me go “How in the world did you find that?”. One of my friends gifted me a set of Starbucks Christmas mix sachets because I muttered off-the-cuff once that I was craving Starbucks and that I’d die for it.
Don’t mistake me for a grinch. I’d rather be buying gifts every single damn day or as much as my allowance will stretch, but I think too much about getting a gift. It cannot be generic, but must not fall into the typical niche gift that everyone thinks off when they want to buy something quirky. Like, I don’t know, one of those “I missed your call, please leave a message in Sanskrit” notepads in those self-proclaimed novelty shops. Yeah right, like a Domo-kun plushie is anything novel.
Your gift must also not be too expensive because nobody likes to have their friendship bought, unless your friend is a money-grabbing whore who runs a streetstyle fashion blog. But, you also want to avoid your circumstance where you buy something from Daiso that your friend greatly appreciates but clearly knows is from the motherdamn $2 shop. The freakin’ $2 shop. Way to ruin a friendship, cheapskate.
I remember my friend telling me recently that a gift must be something that a person would not normally get but one that they would really want. Look, le busy bee me has no time to figure out the idiosyncracies of every single friend on my Facebook friend’s list. I wish I had that kind of memory but I’m not on the dean’s list.
At the end of the day, I cringe a bit whenever Christmas comes along. Sure, it’s the spirit of giving et al. but shouldn’t gifts be a little bit more… immaterial? Whatever happened to giving a home-made coupon that can redeem a back-rub or a sumptuous dinner at someone’s place? I’d gladly receive a Burberry pour homme but the selfishness of the gift doesn’t reflect those innocent gifts you gave to your primary school friends not because of the gift, but because you actually give a damn about the relationship.
While I am sick of the commercialisation of gifting, the merits of gifting nowadays do mean some gifts can be a bit more useful in the long run. This Christmas, I’m trying to be a bit more thoughtful. Maybe I haven’t seen a gift that evokes that personal je ne sais quoi which would sweeten a friendship that much more. But I’m trying not to brush aside what is an activity with good intentions. I just wish we wouldn’t Instagramize those glamorous gifts. They are meant to be personal.
If you’re giving me something, I’d like something practical. Like cash, so I know you care but you don’t indoctrinate my likes into an object.
I’ll buy my own gift, thank you very much.
Photo: Amanda Tipton/Flickr (under CC 2.0 Share Alike license)