It always amazes me to see the craziness that follows the holiday gift-giving season. For months people diligently search for the perfect present for their friends and family. Then, the day after the gifts are given, the recipients of those turn around and jump in the return line. Our local warehouse store, every year, creates a completely dedicated line for those returning items. I realize that some gifts received may be totally impractical or downright sad but that just seems to defeat the idea that ‘it’s the thought that counts’. No wonder so many just decide to buy gift cards instead.
Somehow I always feel the ‘thought’ can come across so impersonal when giving just gift cards though. Regardless of the occasion, there’s something about handing over a giant box with colorful wrapping and shining bows and streamers that feels so nice for both the one giving and the one receiving. That is so different than getting a little envelope with a card that says ‘Thanks!’ or ‘Congratulations!” and a gift card. The first scenario invokes a whole reaction including wide eyes of anticipation, surprise, cheek-to-cheek smiles, and more. The latter brings about a tamed “Oh, thanks – that’s really nice of you” as they think of what to use it for.
When pressed for time or when lacking ideas of what to get, I must admit that I have fallen into the habit of just defaulting to giving gift cards as well. Don’t get me wrong, they are not a bad gift at all. In fact I quite like receiving them myself. They are especially useful when the recipient lives far away too. Hmm, I guess no matter what you give, it really does depend on the ‘thought’ put into it and that it’s given with love. Wouldn’t you agree?
I agree — I like to give actual gifts rather than gift cards. But after this Christmas and three ungrateful teenagers, I am changing my mind a little!
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Teenagers are a whole different category though – I think the idea of gift cards was made for them and those who are forever stuck in that stage 😛
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