December 10 – Christmas Gifts
What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there
specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
My theory of gift giving is that the gift should be something the receiver would want (obviously), something they will use, but something that they either cannot afford to get for themselves or something they would not just run out and get. Maybe they think it's too expensive, or not practical. Doesn't mean they don't want it, just that they haven't convinced themselves to buy it for themselves, or can't afford it.
Sweaters are a no-no. Socks and underwear are right out! Generally, clothing does not fit my idea of a gift. Clothing is a practical thing one needs on a daily basis and should buy one's self as needed. Household appliances don't generally fit this, either, as they tend to imply doing housework, which pretty much no one enjoys that much. However, a particularly special item might be acceptable in some cases. This is hard to explain for something so clear in my mind!
For kids, toys are an obvious choice. Not the only choice, though. For instance, if a boy is in Cub or Boy Scouts, camping gear would be a great gift idea. A gift should be for something a person likes to do, not something they have to do. A new pair of shoes might not be a good gift, but a new pair of ski boots might!
My family didn't have any special gift traditions other than letting each kid open one gift on Christmas Eve. That was more to get us to stop pestering the parents than any particular tradition. My in-laws have a tradition of one or more anonymous gifts showing up from "The Elf". Usually it's somewhat of a gag gift, though not usually junk or useless. It's something to make the receiver spend the rest of the day trying to figure out who "The Elf" might actually be.
This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2012 by Daniel G. Dillman