Thoughtful gift giving

If you’re like me you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet.  If you’re like me in past years, you haven’t even begun to shop yet.  Either way, there’s always someone on the list who is such a challenge to find a gift for. You know who I’m talking about.  The person who buys everything they need or want and when you ask them what they want, they say nothing.  Really, they just want you to put some thought into their gift.  I know because I have been the one to say nothing as a response, but it doesn’t always turn out so well.  You know what I mean
If there’s one thing I hate to feel, it’s like I’m buying someone a gift just to buy them a gift.  The gift that they will never use, will get buried in a closet, or *gasp*, re-gifted.  So, yes, put some thought into the receiver.  Really and truly consider their likes or what they really enjoy.  If you ask them what they’d like Santa to bring them, listen.
 Consider an experience as opposed to a physical gift.  Maybe tickets to a local movie theater or perhaps a basket filled with goodies for a movie night at home, complete with a movie they’d love or rental coupons for their local video store, some popcorn, and, of course, some candy. 
How about something they consider a treat?  Something they only do for themselves on the rarest of occasions.  I know how much a I love a mocha from Starbucks, but they are expensive so when I receive a gift card, I’m excited.  I can honestly say that whether it’s enough to buy one or two of my favorite beverages, I think of the person who gave it to me as I sip my drink, smiling the whole time, at their thoughtfulness.  You could take it a step further and buy a fancy travel mug and put the gift card inside – added surprise!!
Of course a gift of lunch or dinner at their favorite sandwich shop or restaurant would be nice, too.  Again, if they don’t go out often, this will be really appreciated.  Just remember to listen and really think about a place they would love, not necessarily a place that you love.
I heard a crazy number recently about the number of gift cards that go unused.  I just can’t believe this would happen if the recipient was considered when the gift card was purchased. 
I love what my family and my brother’s family did as a Christmas gift to each other one year.  We decided on no gifts for anyone, even the kids, and met at a bowling alley and just had a fun time together.  We laughed, bowled, and ate.  We created some of the best gifts ever.  Memories.  Sometimes it’s way easier to go out and buy something, but coordinating a time to spend real quality time together takes planning and consideration, leaving a much longer impact, in my opinion.
Regardless, I believe it’s better to give than to receive, but I really love it when I achieve the awesome-gift-that-will-get-used-nearly-every-day and put an authentic smile on someone’s face.  Oh, yes, I said authentic.  You know that you’ve practiced your fake-grateful smile in the mirror.  The one that you hope nobody will notice.  The one you force on your face while attempting to casually ask where they bought the gift, because you will be running to return it the next day want one in every color.  Right, yeah, ah huh.
What I find really funny is when they include the gift receipt.  Did  they really anticipate that you’d hate it so much that they decided to save you the trouble of a masquerade and just openly slip you the receipt, you know, in case the size is wrong?  That’s when you suddenly feel like an awful ungrateful human being for even considering returning their gift.  Awesome.  They win.
Now I’m more stressed than ever.  I think I will just buy myself a bottle of my favorite wine.  To relax.  For a Happy Holiday.

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