Now I know that gift giving is no 'science' and I can hear your collective sighs and empathize with you too, but I believe it's time I write an official guide on gift giving. More for the sake of my own reference, sort of like charting down a rule book for myself. So brace yourselves and face the horror (er, I mean read on if you will please):
- Try to give a gift that is practical and useful in the long run (I am guilty of not minding this rule often enough!)
- BUT at the same time try to concentrate on the spirit in which something is given, rather than focusing (all the time) on what has been given. Stuff isn't important, it's the sentiment that should count. So focus on that and not on the material value of a gift.
- Accept a gift with a genuine smile (not a fake one please, they are too easy to spot!) and make sure to thank the person who has given it to you. Even if you don't like it/ don't need it/ have a hundred thousand duplicates of it already.
- Remember that a gift is a token of love, and not necessarily a means of providing someone with the stuff that they lack// need. If that were the case, we would only be giving gifts to those who are in dire need. A gift after all is not 'charity'.
- Try to give something which you know someone's going to like, but if you cannot figure out or choose, it's fine. Remember, it's the spirit that counts.
- Go the extra mile and write a thank you note/ email/ SMS. (Sometimes I don't, out of sheer laziness, need to work on this area too!)
- And of course do give gifts as often as you can:D
- Upon receiving a gift, please do not say, "iss ki kia zaroorat thi" ("you shouldn't have"). That's just such a big no, no. Again, it's like saying that a gift should only be give if someone's in 'need'.
- Even if you don't need something/ you think the gift is ridiculously useless/ ugly/ cheap/ not to your taste; don't decline it or embarrass the 'gift giver' by saying stuff like, "Oh I already have a bunch of these..." blah de blah. Because, if giving a gift is meant to increase love among people, imagine what turning down would accomplish. (BTW, this has happened to me. And I felt so embarrassed, insulted, and of course hurt. It sort of made me wonder if it weren't good enough or was awfully bad. And unfortunately, when it comes to slights, I have an 'elaphantine' memory; I never forget.) I think in case you don't like something, or feel that you don't need something because you already have enough of something, you always have the option of accepting a present graciously and pass it on to someone else. Because there might always be people who might like it, or have uses for it. Point in case, a friend used to give dolls to me when I was like past my teens already. So I gave them to younger kids, friends or neighbourhood kids. The end result was very satisfactory, the kids were delighted to have the dolls and I am sure it provided them with hours of pleasure, whereas if they were just sitting with me, they would have only collected dust.
- BUT make sure that when you 'forward' a gift, you don't accidentally return it to the same person.:-) I have heard so many amusing stories of 'chain-forwards' of a gift, where it keeps getting forwarded until it comes back to the person who originally gave it. As an aside, I wonder if there are some gifts which just continue to be forwarded and are never really used??
- Also, don't forward something which you really hate, as that's not nice either. The true purpose of forwarding a gift is to give it to someone where it could be useful, and not to get rid of unwanted stuff.
- Think you have to keep a scorecard, where you have to match a gift by something of equivalent value. It's amusing how some people still keep written record of exactly what was received on a wedding, and then they faithfully return exactly that.
- Wait for a certain date or event to give a gift. You don't have to give a present to just fulfill a social obligation, or to mark a certain date (say a birthday, or valentine's day, or mother's/ father's day etc.) Do try to gift spontaneously.
- Think that you have to break your bank to give a gift. It should be according to your budget, not based on the recipient's! Everyone doesn't have the same income. Simple rule. At the same time, don't give cheap gifts to someone just because they are poorer. (I need to work on that too!!)
I do believe I have covered most of the points. If you think something's missing in the list, please send a word to me and I would insert that in the list.