In case you missed it in mX last Friday, here’s my two cents on gifts…

It’s supposed to be all about generosity, love, happiness and all that junk. But personally, I find giving and receiving gifts a nightmare.

And Christmas is the worst.

When you’re a kid, you think it’s simple enough. I want this! I want that!

But then you get older and you discover a whole bunch of bizarre “gifting rules”. And everyone seems to have their own interpretation.

Take my Dad (Please). He hates gifts. This is no secret. When someone gives him a present, any present, his reaction is consistent: “I didn’t ask for this. I don’t need it. I don’t want it.”

My Mum on the other hand, will tell me every Christmas, “It’s okay, you don’t need to get me a present this year.” And then when I go ahead and get her nothing, I find out what she really meant was: “I don’t need any presents this year, but I would actually like a small present.”


Why the labyrinth of interpretation?

Because nobody wants to admit “I want presents”.

My family has never been big on gift-giving. When I tell people this, often they find it incomprehensible. It even makes some people upset! They call me David M. Grinch.

When I experienced the first Christmas with my first girlfriend, I was under the impression I would give her a present and she would give me one. And this was true.

But what I wasn’t expecting when I turned up at her house on Christmas Day, was a present from her parents, presents from her three brothers, one from her brother’s girlfriend, one from her grandparents and another from her aunt.

Might I point out, I’d hadn’t even met half these people before.

And you know what I got for them? Nothing!

I know they were trying to make me feel included, but it just made me feel awful. Was I supposed to get presents for all of them too? I didn’t have a job at the time. I’d have to declare bankruptcy! I’m ruined!

So what makes a good gift?

I believe the best present is money – cold hard cash – because you can do whatever you want with it.

But people say, “No! You can’t give money! Where’s the thought in that?” They tell me I have to at least get them a gift voucher.

A gift voucher is less thoughtful than money. A gift voucher can only be used at one place under certain conditions and if you don’t redeem it by a certain date it’s worthless.

But money has no expiration date! It can be used anywhere! For anything! Just a thought…

And it’s the thought that counts.

There was about ten Christmases in a row there where several relatives thought I’d enjoy a nice desk ornament. Every year, more and more desk ornaments. How many desks do you think I have? I need a second one now just for the ornaments.

If you must give a gift, give something that’s useful. We’ve all heard the clichés about socks and jocks, but I think they’re great. Assuming they don’t have an awkwardly placed tag or itchy stitching.

And if you want to give ME a present this year… please… make a donation to a worthy charity. Okay? You feel good. The gift goes to someone who really needs it. Everybody’s happy.

Either that or Lego.

Kind regards,
David M. Green
Putting that journalism degree to good use, obviously.

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