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What Kind of Gift Giver Are You?

What Kind of Gift Giver Are You?

I've thought a lot about the kind of gift giver I am.  This is especially so because I'm not a huge fan of receiving gifts.  Truly- I can be really difficult to shop for and my family knows it.  I literally have everything that I want and ever could need, so gifts seem excessive to me.  I'm sensitive to the frustration that I cause because when asked "what do you want for [insert celebratory situation], I usually ask for "an experience" which means something very specific for me.  An experience is something like planning a random picnic in the park that I don't have to contribute to, or sweeping me off for an impromptu weekend in the Texas hill country (dear husband, I wrote this for you). Something like that.

When it comes to giving gifts for others, I have to set logic aside and determine how I should approach it.  I've never been a fan of giving gift cards.  They are certainly practical, but I always feel like they are so impersonal and coming from me seem like the easy way out.  Mind you, I don't feel at all the same way if someone thinks enough of me to give a gift card because I get overwhelmed with joy when someone thinks enough of me to give anything - truly!  I always find it so odd to ask someone, "what do you want for [insert celebratory situation] because I also feel like that's so impersonal.  So what do I do?

In the art of gift giving, there are two schools of thought - you either give someone what they want or you give someone what you want them to have.  I've done both, but I tend to fall in the latter category. I get immense pleasure from giving someone something unexpected, especially if it is an experience. As much as I like to receive experiences, I LOVE to give them even more.  

Consider a case study: this year for Christmas, my mom asked me for a Roomba .  I purchased it and when the shipping box arrived at her house, before she opened it she called and said, "I got the Roomba" which was entirely anticlimactic.  I didn't feel like I got her a gift at all, I just saved her some money by buying her the thing she wanted.  So I followed that up with something I wanted her to have which was a handmade scrapbook with photos and trinkets from our whirlwind year together.  Each vacation, party, or road trip was perfectly documented with corresponding journaling. Her reaction - priceless!  She cried and hasn't stopped talking about it since.  To me, that's the real joy of gift-giving - letting someone know through thoughtful gestures that they were considered, valued, and loved.

What kind of gift giver are you?  Have you ever re-gifted?  Read here for some more sage advice on thoughtful gift-giving.

Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson

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