Welcome This is another pet peeve post. It comes up a lot this time of year…what to give and not give as holiday gifts. I even saw a blog post the other day titled, “Don’t Give These Boring Gifts.” It bugged me because I not only give many of the gifts on the list, but enjoy receiving them, as well. It also made me think about how many of us come under the pressure of giving the “perfect” gift this time of year.
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Food For Thought Okay, so this post may be a little ironic, since yesterday I talked about annoying kids games that I don’t want to gift this year. But still, whatever happened to “It’s the thought that counts”? Now the media slams us with commercials starting as early as October with visions of diamond jewelry and Disney vacations. Then there’s all the ads showing shiny new cars sitting in the driveway, wrapped in enormous red bows. Who gives a car as a Christmas present in that fashion? I don’t know about you, but a new car has to be discussed as a major family expense, not “Oh, honey, I’m going to run out and pick up your Christmas present,” like you’d pick up a sweater or scarf.
Stores and marketing companies want us to believe that we have to keep topping last year’s gifts or gift better than our friends and neighbors or the recipients won’t be pleased, or worse, that we don’t truly love them. Well, I hope that’s not true, because in our family we believe in giving from the heart, but also being sensible about family budgets. In our family, we believe in being grateful for any gift, knowing that the giver took the time to think of us, took the time to shop for us, took the time to make it, or spent their hard-earned money to buy something with us in mind.
Don’t get me wrong. I want people to like what I give them, but I’m more in the hopes that they recognize the warmth and generosity represented in the gift. Small and simple is perfectly acceptable.
So what gifts are the “experts” saying to not give? Some of the items included candles, lotions, and spa baskets. Notebooks, journals, and pens were also on the list. Well, I couldn’t disagree more! Anyone who knows me, at all, knows that I love all of these things. I burn candles, especially ones that smell like baked goods. I use the stuff in spa baskets and I depend on gifts of lotion and shower gel, because then I don’t have to buy it throughout the year. It may not be exciting to some, but it’s something I will really use and it helps me. Regular readers also know that I love to write and journal. I happily accept any and all writing implements!
Exercise gear and equipment was on the wrong gifts list. Some sensitive people may read into the gift, but for others, it makes the perfect gift. When my husband and I were still dating, he gave me a Billy Banks Tae-Bo boxed set for my birthday and I was ecstatic. I had been wanting to try it, but wouldn’t spend the money on myself. It was a great gift. Over the years, he’s also given me a treadmill, running gear, hiking gear, and a Wii Fit. I always loved and appreciated these gifts. It showed that he was tuned in to my interests and passions.
Calendars, DVDs, and cash are also considered no-no gifts. Granted, I don’t need ten calendars, but my mom gives each of us a calendar every year. My husband gets a waterfall or wolf calendar, my daughter gets a horse or dog calendar, and I get some type of landscape or flower calendar. It’s tradition and we all love and use the calendars. If she didn’t give us a calendar each year, we’d be disappointed. DVD’s can be tricky when you don’t know what someone already has, but maybe not a terrible gift. And who couldn’t use cash, especially teenagers and college kids that won’t their “own” money.
Cutlery was on the list, too. Well, for someone who loves to cook, like myself, I may just be anticipating a gift of some new knives. A few years ago, my husband gave me the Calphalon Self-Sharpening Knife Block Set. I was so excited and I’m still using that gift these days. That’s what I like…a gift that keeps on giving. And once again, I would never have spent the cost of those knives on myself! For me, it was a perfect gift.
Picture frames, coffee mugs, and socks are considered boring gifts. It just so happens that this year I have asked my husband for socks. I guess if that makes me a boring person, so be it. When I think of gifts I want at Christmas, it usually comes down to things I don’t want to buy for myself and I don’t want to go buy socks! He’ll be doing me a favor really. Just like he has asked me to get him pants and jeans for work.
We like practical gifts around here. We don’t need corporate marketers to try and brainwash us with what we should and should not be giving and receiving this holiday season. I don’t need my husband to give me a $5000 diamond necklace to know he loves me this Christmas. Our daughter doesn’t need the latest video game console or tablet to be happy with her holiday. My husband’s merry Christmas is not dependent on some pricey gadget. And I am so thankful we are more focused on the important things this season than making sure our gifts are absolutely perfect.
Here’s my advice to you: First, give whatever you want, knowing your heart is in the right place. Second, be grateful for what you receive, even if it’s not exactly what you had in mind. And finally, please remember the true meaning of our holiday season, a celebration of faith, family, and friends.