Christmas is here once again, and people all over are struggling with both what to get their friends and family, but also telling their friends and family what they’d like to receive.
By my observation, there used to be a much higher bar around being thoughtful with a gift. Sure, everyone has people for whom they just get something because they are at a complete loss, or just don’t have the time to give it the thought they want.
But the bulk of the gifts we end up giving go to people we know fairly well. So there should be some sort of expectation around being thoughtful with the gift – even if it is for someone who’s “impossible to buy for.”
The thing is, gifts are great because there should be low expectation around them. If you try to be thoughtful, you will give someone something they didn’t necessarily see coming. Sometimes, these types of gifts are instant hits. Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months before the greatness of the gift is realized.
And sometimes, they just don’t really land at all. But it’s OK, because it was a gift. It’s not like the receiver is out any money.
But these days, it seems that people can’t be bothered. The givers just don’t know what the get. Parents and grandparents, especially, just don’t know what to give the kids.
On the flip side, the kids don’t know what they want. Or they’re not saying. Paying loose attention to those I know with children, it seems like it’s more common for kids to say they just want gift cards to their favorite stores.
And so, with everyone off the hook, givers are relying on gift cards, and receivers (especially the ones without their own money) are happily receiving them.
With this, we take one more step toward a thoughtless and selfish society. We lower the bar just one more notch and take the fun and tradition out of something that, while it was sometimes stressful for the giver, often led to the rewarding reaction of the receiver.
My goal for this Christmas? Take a minute to think about everyone I want to give to, and give them the thinking time they deserve to get them something that comes from the heart and has some thought behind it. Sure, it may not be the gift card they requested, but hopefully, they’ll see the gift for what it’s truly meant to be – a small representation of everything that person means to me and how much I appreciate them.