Please welcome my guest blogger, Rohan Healy!! You might know him from his blog, Rohan7Things, or his music, or his books! He is a truly versatile, awe-inspiring blogger and if you don’t already know him, you should definitely pop on over and say hi. Heck, even if you do know him, you should pop over and say hey. Send a little rawr love his way!
I had my 6th birthday in Amsterdam.
We had a low key party with a few gifts from my folks and a visit from a friend; I think his name was Jasper. For my birthday he kindly gave me a Lego set with all the pieces required to build a truck plus instructions on exactly how to do so. Jasper then spent the rest of the day constructing the truck and I wondered who the gift was really for…
I had my 9th birthday in Dublin.
This time my older cousin was visiting from Australia. For my birthday he kindly gifted me a cap gun with a few rolls of caps. He “helped” me open the packaging and proceeded to “help” fire off every single cap as well. I wondered who the gift was really for…
People give the gift that they, themselves, would like to receive. Not the gift that the other person would love.
As an adult I’ve noticed this phenomenon as well, I’ve even done it myself!
A couple of years back I exchanged gifts with a friend whose birthday was very close to mine. I handed him a solid 1oz Austrian Philharmonic silver bullion coin and he handed me a biography of a football player. Now I love football, big Liverpool fan, and yes I have an interest in the history and what not, but when it comes to reading; biographies are low on my list, and football biographies even lower. But it’s the thought that counts right? And I know how crappy that sounds, but I have to be honest here!
And who wouldn’t get super excited about a silver coin?! Probably most people, however I would have loved to have gotten a silver coin for my birthday!
I’ve never been big on birthdays or gift giving in general, I used to try to get through my birthdays in school without anyone finding out, most of the time I was successful, sometimes not so much. The idea of the surprise party terrifies me, and that disingenuous moment when you have to smile and say a big thanks for an item you didn’t want or already have, is just so awkward.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no ingrate. I appreciate the thought, and the effort, and the cost. And I’m not stingy either, nor am I a scrooge! I used to love getting my little brother gifts when he was younger. It was easy then, kids are into a few things and you just know they are going to love it when you tell them to close their eyes and slide a brand new ninja turtle across the floor to them!
But dangit, isn’t life tough enough without the pressures of gifting and the obligations of gift receiving?
And what’s wrong with cash? Money as a gift is awesome! You can use it to get whatever you like. Of course cash as a gift is highly controversial; it is seen as a cop out, a lack of effort. But I for one am all for it!
If it were up to me gifts should work like this, either:
A) You tell the person what you want them to get you.
B) You just get yourself a gift on your special day, and let them get themselves a gift when it’s their special day.
Think about it. I would have loved to get a silver coin and he would have loved to get a brand new biography to read! We could have simply bough ourselves the gifts, credited it to each other and everyone’s happy! Right?…
But what about when someone says “Oh you don’t have to get me anything,” or “Please don’t get me anything expensive or go out of your way!” What the hell do you do then?! I can’t be the only one who gets all mixed up with the convoluted social expectations when it comes to gift giving and receiving.
My partner and I keep things very simple. When there’s a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or other such occasion coming up we just talk about what we want to do or what we want to get and then we see if we can manage it.
No surprises, no wondering what the perfect gift would be, no long discussions with friends on sending the “right” message and no freaking out over whether they will like it or not.
People tend to give the gift they’d love to get, this I’ve noticed. But what’s the answer? Does anyone else feel this awkward around giving and receiving gifts? What do you do to make things easier?
Thanks for reading! All the best
Rohan’s authenticity always wins me me over, and so now that I know you’re swooning, too– head off and visit his blog! I’d start here:
How do you deal with gifting? What’s the best gift you ever gave or were gifted? What’s the worst gift you ever gave or were gifted? Would you rather get the coin or the biography?