Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gifts

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?

3 comments:

loquita said...

I am non-gift-giver myself, so I am totally with you on this. I prefer to send a gift out of the blue, just because I happened to find something that was perfect for someone. I hate the idea of obligated gift-giving. I've even tried to talk my parents out of buying me gifts. But its been better now that I'm older, they just get me little stuff, and I know they do want to give me *something* so it's all good.

And like you said, I am all about the acknowledgment of the occassion or achievement or whatever, and if someone can spend time with me, that is the best gift of all.

Cookie said...

I also agree.

My birthday is coming and I don't really expect anyone other than my mother to remember and that's only because she was there at the time.

I think expecting things, scheduling gift giving and keeping track of who gets what are things that have become very American in the last ten or so years. STUFF! seems to matter so much to people. Far more than actual people or bonds of family or friendship. It's "keeping up with the Jones" but twisted into something that says if you love me, you'll get me something expensive that I can show off to people in order to prove that I have worth and that you really DO love me.

I don't get it and pity people who think that way because STUFF! should never be more important than people.

xo

Rebecca said...

My love language is gifts. I feel loved when someone gives me a gift. I felt really hurt when Shawn didn't get me what I wanted for Christmas. I know it's stupid to get worked up over a Christmas present, but I feel like I can't help it. This is my love language and I don't think I can just change what makes me feel loved.