Friday, November 23, 2012

The Art of Gifting

The most annoying thing to receiving a gift that is so horrendous that you cannot ever imagine giving anyone, is when someone asks you whether you liked the gift and you have to be so diplomatic and lie that you absolutely loved it though you HATE it and are cringing from inside. 

Even though they know that it is something worth not gifting and they absolutely would not use it in their own lives, they gift you anyway. In this case, it is not the thought that counts because they were not thinking of you at all. It was more of a chore and wondering what do I have in the midst of my existing gifts at home that I do not like and would like to discard because they do not want to make the effort and go and shop for you. It's that thoughtlessness that I do not appreciate but of course I would never show it upfront and still say it was lovely so guess that makes me a hypocrite, eh! And that's why I rant here. :P

I believe the value of a gift does not matter. It may be a flower or a plant but it has to be something worthwhile and not something that makes the receiver grimace. When you do know what a person likes, their hobbies, their preferences in music or books, the stuff they like to wear, the objects they like to collect or do up their homes with, and their personal tastes and preferences, then of course it is sacrilege giving them something that you would like to discard, a hand-me-down that you know they couldn't use and neither will you.

My first rule is never ever gift someone something that I would never use or care for. Second is never pass on gifts that I have received or do not like because who knows when that may come round. A boarding school pal received the same present that she had gifted someone on their birthday with the same wrapping paper intact. Another dear school pal of mine complained how she would constantly receive crappy gifts from a friend till her gift was gifted back to her through another friend who she had passed it onto. Sounds quite like the merry-go-round. :P 

If there is a budget crunch or you are in doubt as to the other person's tastes and preferences, I think saying it with flowers or a box of chocolates is always the best bet. When the maid gets me a flower in the morning I am happy, or someone gives me a small chocolate bar, that makes me happy. And if someone gives me a book or a CD based on my tastes, or even a small potted plant that makes my day because it shows that the person has taken the time to think of me. Oh yeah, simple things make me happy. I am even elated if someone sends me a mail or a letter remembering me and some nice nostalgic moments. Now that is being thoughtful.

As I reiterate, it's the thoughtfulness that matters and not the thoughtlessness. Wonder why most Indians still try to pass around useless gifts. If you have to gift, GIFT well. Again, I do not mean in terms of material wealth where you always need to buy a branded watch or perfume but can be something small but tasteful that shows the receiver you were thinking of them and they matter. And sorry, I would not like to list the thoughtless gifts I have received here. I think I've been diplomatic enough with this post. :D

PS: This post was written 4 years ago and I guess I have changed as a person with low tolerance towards crappy gifts. I have a school friend who still hasn't stopped with the passing around of hand me downs. When I was in college, she would give me the worst presents, which included a gold top, bathroom slippers that she later admitted she was passing on. Yeah, I've taken a lot of BS but that's changing and I'm beginning to stand up for myself. :D

Two decades after college, she visits my city and even though I repeatedly told her that not to give me clothes knowing my past experience, she insisted it was from a particular brand, spoke like it was gold she was gifting me, and gave me the worst shapeless shabby crumpled T-shirt I have ever seen. I figured out over the phone that she was trying to pass it on even before she reached India but she didn't heed my advice and gave it anyway. I posted it on various Whatsapp groups for my friends to decide and common referendum was I should return it so that's what I did. ;) 

And this is why I don't blindly follow brands or fashion

I just think if you are a good friend, you will make an effort to understand a person's choice and especially when you live in another country and haven't seen the other person in a really long time, clothes can be a big no-no coz of the fit, style, preference, and size. Even in brands, it's not like we all have the same taste. What I may like, somebody else may never wear. It all depends on our height, weight, and comfort with certain clothing. 

Well, I am happy with a bar of chocolate but when someone supposedly your friend gives you such a thoughtless gift and refuses to even listen to what you are saying, it just gives the impression that they don't really care about you. 


Chandrima Roy said...

Ha ha ha! I so agree with you! I have received old, and I guess slightly used items shabbily wrapped too!

Chandrima Roy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki said...

Heheheheheh this post reminded me of an ad.. don't remember what it was for but it had people passing the uselss gifts around!

Totally agree its better to recieve a a gift that is something simple but useful than something that just a total waste of space