Christmas seems a strong wake-up call for us to visit the malls and buy gifts. It's an expected season for us to spend for items and wrap them in specially designed papers and ribbons to let the chosen recipients know how much we value them. Gifts are supposed tell them our care and appreciation more than words could ever describe. Biting the commercial apple of shopping, endless contemplating and giftwrapping still rank supreme.
But giving gifts is not always as easy and effective as we think. For me it's hard and a grueling task to give someone something that we think they need or want. In my case, I always go for the need and usually these are the things that they don't expect to receive. It's also hard to think of separate things to give to friends and family because it involves research and observation. Not to mention, effort of packing and wasteful presentation. For a person like me, I don't give gifts at random. Window shopping on the spot and taking the first packaged item that I see has never been my style. There's a strict preparation to it. I believe if I would spend for something might as well spend for something that they would use and appreciate.
But I have to accept the fact that humans are fickle and complex creatures. No matter how one researches on someone's interests, time could quickly change it. The desires and needs of humans are complex that sometimes only the self could understand. For example, I've gotten used to giving gifts to my father and mother on Christmas. I buy things that I believe they need, but it always ends up being shelved. They appreciate the effort, but that doesn't mean they would use it. Of all the useful gifts I gave my father, I never once saw him use it. It came to the point of me giving up already. One Christmas, I sincerely thought of giving him one sack of watermelon seeds, his addiction. With that I'm sure he's going to eat it, but where's the thrill and comfort in that?
Giving gifts, aside from its difficulty which involves time, effort and money, can never be too effective and practical sometimes. That's why I thought of possible ways to save me from unnecessary effort and wastefulness especially this Christmas season.
1. Gift Cheques
Hallelujah for Gift Cheques. These are more sophisticated and acceptable versions of giving money, which is often seen as a tacky alternative. Aside from the fact that Gift Cheques are easy to purchase, it saves time and a sudden growth of a brain tumor. Most especially, it also empowers the recipient to get what he or she really needs/wants. Gift cheques have more value than receiving actual gifts that the recipient won't use. Since it's always a boo-boo to give money, these are recommended alternatives.
This is proven to be very effective in giving to acquaintances, groups or colleagues in the office. I don't have to bend my back in giving individualized gifts to 30 people, assuming they all matter to me. If they belong in one area or group, food is always the most economical and most effective. Buyng a box of brownies or cookies is quite cheaper; and it spares us from the added hassle of shopping. It is also a safe gift that definitely hits the senses as opposed to giving gifts that some recipients don't need. There are many choices and varieties of food to choose from and some can be bought online. Food is also in line with the whole Christmas cheer. One could never get wrong by giving this.
3. Pre-paid stuff
Pre-paid Travel tickets and movie tickets are something innovative these days. Like gift cheques, I believe this would be more appreciated than getting them something that we're not sure of. Prepaid travel tickets, massages or paid restaurant coupons are rare, but very thoughtful. It also empowers the recipients to plan and use it with whomever and whenever they wish. There's more room for flexibility and creativity with these.
Assuming that the person already has everything in the world and it's a torture to think of something to give them, it's best not to give at all. Instead, a more heartfelt way of showing value to them is by donating to charity and putting it under their names. It's thoughtful, very appreciated and the most effective way to emulate generosity in Christmas.
There is really nothing wrong with going out of our way to give gifts to make the person happy and in return make ourselves, the givers, happy. We would always love the traditional feeling of opening and wrapping presents. But gifts, like the rest that we have to purchase, involve money, research, time and effort. As hard and challenging as it seems, it doesn't have to be that difficult and disastrous. In this day and age, there are now creative ways to share and give gifts this Christmas. It may not be traditional, but it beats being wasteful and ineffective. The statement: "It's the thought that counts" is very true. So give your gifts much thought. Giving something of definite use and value is more than generosity, it's being effectively thoughtful at the same time.