I don't think that I really understand gifts. I mean- I completely understand loving someone and wanting to do someone nice for someone, but I don't understand the expectation of gifts. Yes, Christmas and birthdays are nice, and if people feel that they want to give me a gift- that's wonderful and exciting and I'm appreciative. But I don't expect it.
I don't expect people to buy things for me, and I certainly don't expect that there is a certain amount of money that they will spend, or that it will be comparable to what they spend on someone else (i.e. my brother). I think I do expect people to recognize the occasion (a phone call is usually sufficient), but with the exception of my parents and Ranger Man, even that is optional.
It bugged me all Christmas, and I was (probably not wisely) reading on one of the main Ravelry forums today about family members who expect gifts from each other- like it is mandatory on birthdays or whatever.
It's not. No one HAS to buy anyone anything. Recognition of milestones, holidays or achievements can be done in many ways and honestly- I would rather someone took the time to talk to me about whatever it is than slapped some money or gift card at me. I would never presume that someone was wrong for not getting me things. Yes- I was (and still am, a little) upset with Ranger Man for completely neglecting my birthday altogether- but that wasn't about money, that was about the specialness. He could easily have watched movies with me on tv all day and I would have been more than happy. Actually, I probably would have been estatic. There was no need for money to be spent. (which we totally did last night and it was so awesome- last night was awesome).
His family, on the other hand, was very conscious of the fact that it is imperative to buy some sort of present for each other. In Ranger Man's eyes, even if I were to knit something for someone (i.e. a scarf for his mother)- out of Wollmeise no less- that wouldn't be good enough because it wasn't store bought. The whole holiday was about what can we get and how do we make it even between the brothers etc etc. So weird to me.
I'm sure that's how some people show that they love each other. They get the best and newest and shiniest things for each other and by increasing their status they can prove their love. If they enable their love ones more capable of keeping up with the Joneses then it must be true familial love.
I'm trying to get it, I really am... but expecting gifts just seems wrong. Maybe expecting people to expend their time is even more presumptuous?