Saturday, February 15, 2020

Reflections: Why Gift Giving is on the Decline


You with a spray can painting graffiti: Ssssssup?

What's up? The Unleashed One here. Today I expand on my discussion about the 5 Love Languages. If you missed the introduction, click the underlined word here.

First I will tackle gifts. Most people like gifts right?

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Shocker ... I actually do!

There are some who take pride in receiving the biggest, shiniest, most expensive gift in the room. It's one of the reasons why some women hold their breaths in anticipation of getting a very extravagant engagement ring, so they can show off to their friends, family, co-workers, even enemies. "See, he loves me so much that he bought me THIS (cue deliberate hand gesture to show off the magnificence of the clarity and cut) to prove it!" I'm sure at least one of you knows a person like this.

Because I present a certain way to the world, it is assumed that I, too, take pride in receiving the most expensive, larger than life item or gesture. 

I dislike that assumption because it demonstrates that one has not gone through the measures of getting to know me.


Taking the time to get to know a person is important. One gets the opportunity to find out likes and dislikes, which is essential in building with a person, no matter what type of relationship one wishes to accomplish. Not only must it be conveyed but one also must listen.

I do my best to be very aware of the individual I'm dealing with. If a person loves receiving handmade jewelry, I'm not going to gift them earrings from Target. If a person enjoys live concerts, I'm not going to treat them to a recorded performance. When I give a gift, I want that person to feel important and unique ... that I am aware and used that awareness well to provide an enjoyable experience.

In addition, I am a believer that one doesn't have to wait for a special holiday to give gifts. I function as a Secret Santa all year to those who are important to me.

Wait ... I've only addressed my role as being the giver. For me, it's mostly been the result of the giving that makes me the happiest. That component hasn't shifted.

Therefore, let me speak about what has.

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When I was growing up, I acted from a place of appreciation. I accepted whatever gifts were given to me. I was taught to be thankful, regardless of whether it was something I liked or not.

As I became older, I was still appreciative. It became harder to accept gifts, particularly a present that I knew wasn't going to be used, or even worse, disliked. It's like receiving a fruitcake year after year when you don't eat fruitcake. How long are you polite enough to take it, knowing it's going to end up at another person's house or the trash?

I don't recall when my attitude changed from "grinning and bearing it" to "becoming unbearable". However, I did come up with ideas on how to utilize the unused or unwanted. Mostly, I either donated or regifted the item to another person. Rarely did I do the gift receipt option. It would be just my luck I would run into the very person who made the purchase.

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My mindset did another shift. Perhaps it had to do with being in too many relationships where I wasn't getting my needs met. Or going from a union where I would receive "just because" tokens and adventures to forgetting about my birthday or ANY DAY. Whatever the case, I changed my tune.

Not everyone had the attentiveness. Not everyone cared. If there were activities or items I wanted "just because" or "special occasions", I needed to make it known. I wasn't the typical "give me chocolate" or "a bouquet of roses" type woman. One has to flex their brain when dealing with me. By giving a list, the brain can flex less, and I can be assured that we will both be happy.

I don't want to go through the hassle of someone thinking he's hit the jackpot and my giving the look "is that all". Or even worse ...

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In addition, I am no longer in the state of keeping something on my "wish list" and waiting for someone to get it for me. If I have saved up the money (meaning I have it to spend without putting my core expenses in jeopardy), then I chalk it up as an investment in my ongoing happiness.

Most of what I want isn't necessarily expensive. I'd just been so accustomed to putting others' needs before my own that I keep saying "later" until later morphs into months, then years.

I have an index card in my bedroom which states, "You have the right to spoil yourself from time to time." This is a battle for one who is groomed to be selfless. When that mental battle takes place, I draw up these questions.

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1. Is this a need or a want?
2. Regardless of whether it's a need or a want, is it at a price point I'm comfortable paying?
3. If the item has not been discounted, am I willing to pay full price for it?
4. Will purchasing the item interfere with other responsibilities? If it taps into money from the household, do I have a plan to replenish the money within thirty days?
5. Will I feel a huge amount of buyer's remorse after?

As much as I'd like to hold out on a millionaire spoiling me to my mind, heart, body, and spirit's content, I've become too much of a realist. The number of times I've been spoiled by a romantic interest has been few and far between. If anything, I'm usually the one who goes the extra mile to spoil them. It's an uneven yoke I've decided to resign.

Fewer people being worth the effort (of my art of giving)
More confident in spoiling myself
Caring less about people's opinions of my gift lists
Less expectancy in others' abilities to be creative

All of the above contributes to why the "Receiving Gifts" portion of the 5 Love Languages has decreased for me.


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