The art of gifting

January 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm 5 comments

My mom has an aunt who likes to shower everyone with gifts on most occasions. She has a lot of events at her house, and then makes a big deal out of seating all the women in the family in a row and giving them a saree with arshna and kunkum. Sounds like fun right? Except that every single time she has given sarees to anyone except her own daughters or DIL, they are of such cheap quality that you positively cannot wear them. My mom religious thanks her everytime and then donates the saree to our help at home. I think even the help commented on the awful quality once.

My nag here is, why gift something that you know for sure is going to suck? And I am not taking personal styles or preferences here. Just the cheapness of the gift. I mean, if you have a budget of only 10Rs per person, then buy something nice in that 10 bucks. Don’t go and buy the cheapest quality thing you can find that no one is going to use. The lady takes pride in telling how she gave the entire extended family sarees. Only, now it is a standing joke in the family that when you get something from her, you can donate it even without opening the cover because you know it is going to suck.

Now, this auntie is having a house warming ceremony and my mom is attending. My mom was telling me that she purchased 2 sarees – for the aunt and her DIL. And knowing my mom, I know she puts a lot of effort into getting nice things when she gifts something.Β  May not be the most expensive item, but it will definitely have something going for it. I was a little irritated that my mom has to go through with this when she all she gets in return everytime is something horrible. I wanted her to re-gift one of the aunt’s gifted sarees back to her. My mom replied that she would rather not give anything than give such cheap stuff.

My point exactly. No one holds a gun to your head and orders you to give gifts to everyone on every occasion.Β  If fact you don’t have to give gifts at all!. And the big ones like weddings come once in a blue moon where even a simple bouquet will suffice.Β  Actually, one of the better presents I received at my wedding was a beautiful poem written for us by one of my FIL’s close friends. It did not cost a cent, but it really touched us because it was so beautiful and we knew it was not a last minute stop at the mall to grab something on the way to the wedding.

Now gift giving has reached heights of laziness. You don’t have to think about the person at all. Just go to some generic store and buy a gift card and you are set! Somehow, gift cards seem very impersonal to me. But K disagrees and says that atleast they get whatever they want instead of being stuck with something they don’t like. And I feel that if I can’t figure out what a person would like as a gift, I probably don’t know them that well to begin with and should re-evaluate my relationship with them.

So what do you say? Gift cards or gifts? Or do you make sure you have return receipts anyways?


Entry filed under: Random Banter.

Obama-Dutt?? When educated Indians think like this….

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. La Vida Loca  |  January 30, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    you know my story–when the N and I got married..we had NOTHING, nada. We got a lot of cash and gift cards for the wedding and were able to get stuff for the house like utensils, couch, bed etc. So I love gift cards. If someone asks what do I want I say a gift card… doesnt matter if it is $5 or $500.
    This works for me and I assume everybody love it too.
    Maybe not. Still.

    Clueless: I think I have the santa complex…I like to unwrap my gifts and then coo over them. Never thought of gift cards your way, especially for a newly wed couple. Hmm…something to chew on

    Clueless: Maybe if I was at your wedding, I would take you with me to shop for whatever you want. Would that work? Both of us Kush!

  • 2. Enchanted  |  January 31, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Hey, I dont remember how i came here but i had bookmarked your url some time back. Commenting for the first time on your blog.
    nice post btw. I totally agree that one should not bother giving something that is cheap. But between gift cards and gifts i think it is personal choice and what you give to others also depends on what you expect from others.
    So while gifting I give gift cards to people i dont know very well. Coz i dont know their taste and what they would like. And knowing that they may not like my gift I would not invest so much time in picking that. If i know the person however, I would have some idea about what the person would like and would definitely think of gifting some gift.

    While receiving however, as much as I liked unwrapping my wedding gifts, I know I will not be able to use a lot of them. May be I will use them in re gifting to someone else πŸ™‚

    Once a colleague and his wife gifted us a painting. As soon as they came in the house they noticed that every wall in my house was already decorated with something and there was really no place to put that painting. They were disappointed. While it didnt matter to me so much, coz i was receiving and i could surely re gift it, But I would definitely not like to be disappointed like they were when I gift to anyone else.
    We didnt re gift this painting btw. We just put it in some other room. πŸ™‚

    Clueless: Thanks for stopping by! I know, I know, not exactly practical like the gift cards, especially in situations like weddings where a LOT of people give you gifts. Maybe I can put some exempt clauses on my gift card rule..

  • 3. DewdropDream  |  January 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I don’t know… I’ve always think my gifts through and can’t remember having disappointed anyone with my choice… prefer to not give gift cards either… it just seems to impersonal you know?

    But yeah, I’d rather not gift anything than give something that looks big but feels cheap.

    Although if someone was giving me something then maybe I’d weclome vouchers… I’m just too choosy and it’ll be a win-win situation if someone who doesn’t know me well just gives me free reign to pick up something I like.

  • 4. Jira  |  February 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Gift cards can be personal too! Except in cases of getting a generic visa cash card, some thought goes into picking which retail store a person likes to shop from, or what brands he/she likes!
    In terms of what I prefer, I prfer gifts or cash. No gift cards from stores that are 30 miles away, I have no intention of driving to and shopping πŸ™‚ I would rather just take a pre-bought gift and be happy at that! I mean gifts are gifts. Most cases they are not meant to be liked πŸ˜‰ But I still appreciate the gesture though!

  • 5. Solilo  |  February 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    If its close friends then gift cards are a big NO from my end. Like you I too think that gift cards are impersonal and when a gift is for someone whom I know well, I prefer to buy something they would like and use. In most cases I even ask for a wish list.

    If it is not a close friend then gift cards are safe bet. Also if its a housewarming party of someone who already owns a house and have loads of stuff then again I would give a gift card.

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