Tying into the five love languages from the previous post, I have noticed a marked difference in the types of gifts given by my family and circle of friends. In my immediate family, gifts, especially from my mom, are very thoughtful and sometimes homemade, with lots of love and caring. We keep an ear open in case the person mentions something in passing that he/she likes or enjoys and use this as a gift idea. Or we base ourselves on what we know about the person. I really appreciate this approach because it feels like the person really knows me well and has put a lot of thought into getting me something, no matter the monetary value.
Among my friends, sometimes a birthday is just celebrated with loved ones, with no gifts beyond maybe a scratch card. That’s great, too. What seems a little alien to me is the practice of asking the person what they want and the givers going out and buying that for them. It’s upsetting to me, as a gift-giver, because it feels too impersonal. Yes, I want to give you what you want, but that feels more like running an errand. I usually get around this by buying them something on their list and adding a small personal gift. Or buying them something that is not on their list because I know they’ve been wanting it. I have had some great success with the latter, but it sometimes feels like a gamble.
I guess what I’ve learned is that for me, thoughtfulness is more important important than cost when it comes to gifts. But just because people do things differently doesn’t mean they care less. For some, the amount they spend is indicative of their caring. Others have had less extravagant gifts growing up and now enjoy buying their loved ones gifts they want, but might hesitate spending money on. In short, it’s the thought that counts, even if the person doesn’t think along the same lines as you.
How do you enjoy giving and receiving?