Thursday, December 29, 2005

For me, gift giving is a personal act. What’s the point of giving a gift, if it winds up in the back left bottom corner of the closet. A gift should mean something to the personal receiving the gift as well as the person giving the gift. When I shop, I tired to picture how my gift will be used. Sometime I spend months listening to someone and thinking about the perfect gift. Other times I’ll be “out and about” and stumble across something that someone I know just has to have, because it is aesthetic pleasing “fit” in how I think of the universe should work. That does not mean I will buy those cow shaped slippers for someone just because I think they look cute. I get gifts that say: “ Wow, this is just right for Dr. Torres, because she needs some caffeinated Chocolate Penguin Mints to stay awake during those long staff meeting. They also taste like Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, which is her favorite flavor. I gotta give her a case of theses!” So the gift has to be useful to the person receiving the gift. If the gift is something they would not buy for themselves or have never heard of before, that’s just icing on the cake.

Which bring us to our next point. Money. Giving money may seem cold, uncaring, and “at the last minute”. However it fits right in with my gift giving philosophy. Money has infinite uses and never goes out of style. Sure it’s nice to pick out something special for someone, but if you are just buying a $20 piece of crap just to say: “I have something to give!” that’s a waste. Trust me, $20 will go further and be more useful in a tight spots than that toaster cozy you just bought.

A variant of this is the gift card. Gift cards can be tricky. They are great to send through the mail, but limit you to a stores or group of items. A $20 dollar gift card can easily be forgotten or misplace, but when was the last time you lost $20? What about the 73 cents left on that Victoria’s Secret gift card? Extra cash goes into my piggy bank, but that 73 cents just goes back into the coffers hidden in Victoria’s closet if left on the card for too long. Did you know most gift card “decay” time? If you don’t spend it, you start to lose 50 cents to a dollar each month until the card runs out or they company just cancel it. So gift cards are OK, but cash is great.

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