Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Gift Givers


No matter how curmudgeonly you might imagine you are, one way or another everyone finds themselves partaking in the grand gifting exchange that overtakes the country in December.

I happen to love giving gifts. In most instances I enjoy it much more than getting them. Years ago I found myself dividing humanity into two major kinds of gifters: those who give what they think you should have, and those who give what they think you’d like.

I knew I was firmly in the second group when I chose a gift for a relative who adored guns.   Now I admit they are sometimes (if rarely) necessary. But call me prissy- I find no charm whatsoever in guns. This relative adored them, collected them, displayed them, and collected books about them. (I should add that he never used any, and passed away peacefully in his bed a few years ago.) When I saw a beautifully produced coffee- table book on antique rifles, I bought it to give to him. I thought he’d like it, (he did) all the while knowing that it was not something I would want. This is, to date, my most extreme ‘I-honor-you-by-giving-you-what-you’d-like-even-if-I don’t.’ I continue to give in this way.

My mother was the other sort of giver. She adored bargains, and would pick up the oddest things she deemed others should have. She had become immune to the brow-raising her offerings caused. She did not need an occasion. If anything, she avoided December and birthdays, and would unload her finds at unexpected times. But I see that her gifts were, in the end, more hits than misses. We stared, puzzled, at the brush to clean dirty nails, the salt-shaker with giant holes, or the plastic straw-holder. She thought we could use them, and you guessed it, we do to this day. In many ways my mother’s choices were more enduringly successful.

Of course, like everyone else, I’d like to give you what we both like and what I also think you should have. But sometimes all the elements don’t come together. That is when you know which kind of gift-giver is the primary one in you.

So which is it? Do tell.

22 comments:

  1. Hi Mirka...nice to meet you. Even I love giving gifts. Give people the gift that they need badly, they will remember you for it :)

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  2. I'm a "give things people like" giver. It's all about fun for me. Thanks for stopping by my blog today :)

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  3. I'm all across the board - sometimes because I'm so far away from family and tastes change that I don't know anymore what they'd like. I tend to do practical things or spoiling things. Like warm socks and gloves - things you always needs. Or pricey kitchen things or yummy foods that you might not always buy for yourself. Finding the perfect gift for another is an art.

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  4. Hee hee ... gosh, I never make these distinctions because pretty much I give what I want to give. And like your mother, will give it not necessarily on birthdays or holidays, because I have no patience. If I see a book I know is perfect for my friend, she gets it right away.

    Vijaya

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  5. giving out gifts is a good habit, but I am too lazy a person, because my better half reminds me to buy gifts for others.
    My best gift to others is my sincere love for humanity and hatred for none.
    I am now member of your site --take it as a gift.
    Please visit my blog---- thank you.

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  6. I give what people would like. It feels like it's more personal that way, really saying that we know and appreciate them :)

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  7. I think there's a third kind of gifter: those who give you what they really want themselves. And then there are those who give with strings attached -- if you don't use or display the gift a certain way, or if you return it, they'll be hurt. Frankly, when I saw our whole family spending scarce money on stuff that wasn't working for the recipient, I instituted wish-lists in our own household. I want to give what will really be appreciated and useful. We give a lot of gift cards, and gift receipts accompany every present.

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  8. I love finding things throughout the year that I think someone will enjoy, so I often have a cabinet full of gifts. It's not the gift so much as the fact I hold these people I will give them to in my heart all the time.

    Hope you have a joyous Christmas and a wonderful new year.

    Lee

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  9. I like to give people things that I know they will like or use. But finding the right gift is hard, so I admit it. I"m a gift card giver. I find out where people like to spend their money and I get them a gift card for that place. Plus, that's what I hope other people give me.

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  10. I love giving gifts and try hard to think of something the person will really want (sometimes that IS a gift card).

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  11. I consider myself a giver. I take into consideration what the person will like.

    Have a great weekend.

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  12. Actually, every kind of gift-giver is still a giver. It seems to me that those who give what they would like themselves are in the ‘what you should have ‘category.
    Every one of the comments above is a gift to this blog. I wish all of you the merriest most satisfying rest of December, from grateful me.

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  13. I really like to find thoughtful gifts if I can. It shows that I know and care about the people I gift. :) That would put me into the second category I believe. :)

    Have a great Christmas! :)

    Angela @ The bookshelf Muse

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  14. I agree with Jaye that "Finding the perfect gift for another is an art." My daughter is wonderful at it. I'm terrible. Partly why it's hard for me is that I almost never shop (even grocery shopping is done by my husband), so I'm not at stores where I might see something and think, "Oh, that would be perfect for her/him."

    Many years ago the six of us siblings in my family decided that instead of trying to find meaningful gifts for each other, we would take turns choosing a mission project; then all of us would give to that project the money we might've spent on gifts for each other; this year my husband and I are giving clean drinking water to needy people in Asia as our gifts to my sibs. I find that a meaningful and exciting way to do gifts

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  15. Well, I laughed out loud at this one, Mirka. Your mother and my mother must have gone to the same school of gift-giving, only my mother took the passive-aggressive course.

    One year she gave my poor, overweight brother a book on dieting. Another year she gave thirteen-year-old me (who was often late to school due to extreme fatigue and general ill-health) an alarm clock with a shrill, raucus alarm, plus flashing lights.

    Another year, she accidentally stepped on the parakeet and killed him on Christmas Eve. Did I mention that my mother (who could be very generous at other times of the year) really, really didn't like Christmas?

    As for your relative, when you didn't tell what you got him in the first sentence, I just assumed it was a gun! Glad it was only a book.

    How do I get on your gift list? :)

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  16. Oh, and Ev--we do that too. I got everyone a gorilla this year (sponsored a gorilla, that is) through the Dian Fossey organization. I check my charities out on Charity Watch. But Mirka's right. It's nice to see if you can get someone something they would really like. But like you, I'm not too good at it.

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  17. OY, Ellen. Your mother stepped on the parakeet? I think we need a special plaque for her. She's the champ of something in the gifting department.

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  18. I had a truly wonderful mother, Mirka, so I feel a little guilty discussing her flaws without telling you about her good qualities. But one of her good qualities is that she wouldn't mind me telling a few stories at her expense.

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  19. My mother, too, had an unflinching sense of honesty and a fantastic, if unique, sense of humor.
    Here’s to our mothers {heart}!

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  20. Seems all of our mothers had similar taste! Now...where DID I put that electric dog polisher??

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  21. Nice post! everyone It shows that we know and care about the people we gift. :)

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