Most of you know that I have a love for the blog Hot Mess Memoirs. She wrote a post called Thoughtless Gifts You Can Keep, and instead of writing a novel in her reply box, I decided to reply here!
With Christmas coming up, a lot of this is on my mind. Christmas isn’t really big here in South Korea. December 25th is technically a holiday, but if it falls on any day but Sunday you will still get mail. Stores keep their regular hours as well. It’s basically like a government holiday I guess. My family has kind of taken this attitude towards Christmas. We skip a lot of the craziness and keep it simple. When I was younger, we did the extended family thing but as my aunts and uncles have all gotten older (all in their later 60’s and up now) we have stopped doing that as well.
Being that way, I am very particular about gifts. I research before making a gift list to find the best thing for me. Once I had a full typed page for only an ipod. One ipod. Different colours and styles and GB limits. All my parents had to do was pick ONE and then order it with the correct inscription on the back. I didn’t ask for anything else for Christmas.
Hot Mess wrote a list of several different types of gifts and why she thinks you should keep them. Here are my thoughts as well:
- the knock off gift: I tend to agree. If I have put so much thought into a gift, I really am expecting that exact thing. Unless it’s something that it doesn’t matter just as long as it’s kind of the same.
- the gift you didn’t ask for: my mom once decided that I needed scrap booking punches. You know the type of things that make holes in paper that are cute little shapes? Well I don’t scrap book, nor do I have an interest in scrap booking. So for Christmas one year she gave me a few punches, then on my birthday. I asked her to stop, so of course the next Christmas I got a few more. I think they have finally stopped coming since I told her very straight forward I have no use for them and that I had never wanted them (I said it in a nice way don’t worry!).
- home decor without knowing your taste: One year I had just finished redecorating my room and I wanted a new lamp for my night stand. I was around 16. My room was BRIGHT forest green, and my bed set was blue/green plaid with yellow accents. So cool! I loved it. For Christmas I got a rose pink coloured lamp in the shape of a rose bud. (something like this but with a pink rose bud on the top)My mom picked it out, it was lovely, but I hated it. It didn’t match me or my room. I took it back and exchanged it for this totally 60’s inspired lamp which rocked my room.
- the WWAAAYYY under budget gift: Thankfully I don’t have too much experience with this, and can’t really place any gift to tell about.
- the bride maid’s gift: agian, no experience. I’ve never been a bride’s maid but IF I ever get married, I know I’m only going to have one person stand up with me – my bff-R (although HM, you’re totally invited to the wedding!) and I know her taste well enough to give her something perfectly suited for her – I actually kind of have a few ideas since I am addicted to pinterest.
- beautifully illustrated kids books: oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE kids books! But entertaining ones! And think children should always get books as gifts! The ones she describes sound boring and not fun at all though.
Now to add on two of my own categories:
- Jewelry: this is such a personal thing. Unless you know the person REALLY REALLY well, don’t do it. Sure most women say they want jewelry for gifts but I am most definitely not one of those women. If we recall back to July when my mom gave me my “Christmas” gift, said if I didn’t like it she would keep it. It turned out to be a white gold crushed diamond linked hearts bracelet. While yes it was beautiful, it’s not my taste AT ALL. I literally will never wear it. Ever. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I hate diamonds. So my mom has it now and will keep it forever, because even though I said I would reconsider when I got home, that won’t change it into something I would wear. I literally wear the same ring and necklace every day. I have a watch but only wear it to work and it annoys the crap out of me. That’s all the jewelry I wear. I can only see that changing if I get married and wear my engagement/wedding rings.
- Getting the same gift for all your friends: sometimes this can be a good thing. I used to be part of a little group called “The 3 T’S”. 3 girls all with the first initial T and one boy with the first initial S. (we thought we were being cute). So T3 gave slippers and a blanket for Christmas. Each recipient got a different pair of slippers and different style of blanket to suit their personality. I still have the blanket 6 years later, even after not speaking to the rest of the group for about 4 years. Because it matches me that much. T1 (I was T2) gave out piggy banks: all were silver metal boxes with some saying about how saving for heels is life’s greatest joy or something lame like that. It went into the back of my closet and eventually into good will.
Personally, I am all for the hand made gifts. I love them. The bbf-R and I have gotten into the habit of making gifts for each other and they are spectacular. One year for her birthday, I designed and stitched her name as a cross stitch, made block letters and filled each letter with things she loves. The R, for example, was Anne of Green Gables: her head, a house with a green roof, the saying “Anne with an E”. One letter was filled with purple (her fav colour) flowers and butterflies, one filled with airplanes and suitcases and the Eiffel Tower, one with nursing things since she is going to be an amazing nurse.
Bff-R is the one who is great at scrap booking! One year she made me a little pull out book out of small brown paper bags, each pull out was a card with a quote or a Bible verse for me.
Another year, a box full of index cards. Each card decorated and filled with something she appreciates about me and our friendship. Pure love right there folks!
So as we’re heading into the Christmas season, I have just a little bit of advice: if the person you are buying for has provided a list, stay within that list. If you need to go off of it, make SURE it is something you know will fit their personality. I’m not sure what is worse: not having your gift liked by someone OR having to tell someone you don’t like their gift.
If all else fails, give the gift of time! A card saying you will plan some time to go out together, or just come over for a coffee date! Gifts don’t have to be expensive, but from the heart. My brother refuses to give gifts that he personally doesn’t like (which means as much as I want it, I won’t be getting a hippo onsie from him this Christmas since he thinks they are stupid)- but it’s not about the gift giver, it’s about the receiver. Get something they will appreciate and cherish.
*all pictures supplied via google search*