14 May 2019
When I was little, my aunt would give me a silk scarf, brooch, earrings or a perfume for Christmas each year. It used to annoy me at the time because it felt like all those gifts were perfect gifts for 'her' but I was 13 years old, not interested in wearing a scarf or golden earrings. My fashion sense at the time was completely different to hers. I considered myself too cool to wear a silk scarf.
Of course back then I quietly accepted the gifts, being thankful that I was even given a gift. However each year when we left the Christmas party, I quickly gifted those gifts forward to my parents or anyone else in the family and this tradition continued for years. It was always a running joke to see what silk scarf I would get the next year and who in the family would end up wearing it.
I personally always appreciated monetary gifts when I was younger or gift cards from my family as I knew I could use the money on something I wanted and they didn't have to stab in the dark to find me a gift. I also really truly appreciated it when people gave me gifts that I liked and when they added a personal message that was touching and heartfelt.
It was only about 20 years later in a relationship with my now boyfriend where I observed that he did gift giving totally different in his family. Family members would actually get asked what they wanted to receive as gifts and others would help them make those gift dreams come true. It was also totally okay to say when someone didn't like a gift to return it and exchange it for something else instead. Nobody took it personally. It felt like a more conscious and collaborative approach to gift giving where the recipient would end up with a gift they really liked. It could be anything from money towards a new laptop, an Alexa Music Prime subscription, money towards a pair of glasses etc.
Over the years I've had quite a few realisations around gift giving which I wanted to share here:
Presence over Presents
"I already have everything I need." This is the phrase I often hear from my dad who every time I ask, never has a gift wish for his birthday or Christmas. I once gave him an Afternoon Tea for Two to enjoy with his girlfriend and he never actually used it. I eventually got tired of giving him any gifts because he already had everything he needed.
This made me realise that instead of me trying to come up with different gift ideas from aftershave to socks to books (behaving like my aunt randomly dishing out gifts), I could just buy a flight to Vienna to see him and spend time together at a restaurant, not bothering about actual physical gifts. He was never bothered about receiving a gift from me, it was only me who thought that I had to give him a gift because that's what everybody else did around Christmas or birthdays.
Experience over Stuff
My dad recently gifted me with a chunk of money as he sold his house that allowed me to travel to Hawaii, my favourite holiday destination. The trip to Hawaii for me wasn't just a normal holiday, it was more a trip about self-realisation, time together with myself to learn about me, hearing my own voice, overcome fears and grow as a person. It's impossible to put a price tag on gifts like this, but to me his monetary gift had a 'quantum value' attached and I'm forever grateful to my dad that he enabled me to have the experiences I had in Hawaii. The actual value of the gift was worth way more than the monetary value. It felt like his monetary gift allowed me to travel further in life in terms of my own development and what I wanted to experience. Recently I came to realise that I too now have everything I need in terms of possessions and I now place more emphasis on travelling, meeting new people and experiencing new things that allow me to discover more of myself or simply have fun.
It's a collaborative approach
I used to think it was all on me to come up with the perfect gift. I now realise it can be a collaborative approach where I sometimes either ask my boyfriend directly what he wants for his birthday or Christmas. I can get his family members involved for clues or tips if I want the gift to be a surprise. Also sometimes for bigger gifts we realise we can all chip in together to make bigger gift dreams come true rather than buying smaller individual gifts that the person might appreciate less.
This is where I feel GiftRound comes in super handy, it's a platform primarily designed for office teams who care and all want to collaborate together on leaving gifts, birthday gifts, baby showers, retirement gifts etc. But I can also see it working in other scenarios where either a group of friends or family members all chip in to make someone’s gift dream come true for birthdays, Christmas, family or friends night out or spontaneous inspired gifts.
Another realisation I had was, the more conscious I am around giving gifts, the less gifts ends up in our rubbish bin, at the charity shop or remain as unused experiences. Gifts get to be truly enjoyed instead whether that's time spent together, an experience like travelling or a unique class being gifted or simply giving someone the right gift.
by Dani from EpicMisFits
Does your gift giving involve many half-wanted gifts?
What gift dreams could you unlock if you asked others to group together for your next gift?