Christmas Gift Questions Part Two
Last year I carefully broached the question of Christmas gifts, sensing I was on sacred ground, and this year I have an additional question that occurred to me. Hopefully you will understand that these questions come from a curious space in my brain, and I’m really trying not to offend.
My understanding of Christmas is that a lot of people construct wish lists similar to a registry for a wedding. They write down what they would like and other people choose things off of their list. (Or sometimes people stray from the list and purchase something different, just as people sometimes stray from the registry at a wedding. And some people don’t make lists at all.) If people do shop off the list, it means that you pretty much know what is under the tree before you get to the gift opening.
I think I was most interested by people who said they purchased a single gift together as the adults, wrapped it and set it under the tree. So both people definitely knew what was in the box but waited to open it until Christmas gift opening time.
I guess I’m most interested in hearing about the element of surprise. Is knowing what is in the box and not being able to open it and use it until the gift opening time frustrating? I ask because that would be very frustrating to me. If I knew there was an iPad under the tree, I would just want to open and start using the iPad immediately. Not knowing what is in a box is what helps me to not want to open it immediately, if that makes sense. If it’s a surprise, I’m imagining what the box might possibly contain and my hopes are pretty neutral. But if I know exactly what is inside a wrapped box, and it’s something I’ve been waiting for, I would want to just open it and start using it immediately.
I realize in writing this that I would suck at doing Christmas properly.
Would you rather have someone get you something off your wish list, or would you rather have everyone choose a random gift for you that shows how well they know you? I mean, isn’t part of gift giving to show that you’re listening to the person, trying to understand them and get them something that you believe they would love? Wedding gifts always seem perfunctory: they’re a must-do much like tipping. Tipping is supposed to be tied to good service, but regardless of service, we always tip. And wedding gifts are something you always give the couple, therefore the registry is fabulous because sometimes, you don’t know the couple all that well but you must get them a gift regardless.
I’ve been to the weddings of best friends and I’ve been to the weddings of distant relatives (or even more removed, as the plus-one for a family wedding of a boyfriend). Without the registry, I would never be able to think up what to get someone I don’t know intimately. But I’m assuming that you usually buy Christmas gifts for people you know well, and perhaps give gift cards to people you don’t know very well but are obligated to gift to. Which then always makes me wonder about the surprise element: is it just as exciting to open the gifts if you know what is in them, and are you a wish list maker or do you leave the gifting up to chance?
And lastly, where do people stand on receiving gift cards from loved ones? I am such a fan of receiving a gift card. My favourite gifts are iTunes cards, Amazon cards, or bookstore cards. They’re the gift that keeps giving. I get the gift one day, and then I use the gift on another day, so it’s like actually getting two gifts. And I love being able to pick out something I really want. But I read blog posts where people wrote that giving gift cards to people you know well and love are a complete no-no. Is that true?
Did you know what was under the tree this year, or were you were completely taken by surprise? And which gifts are your favourites — the ones you asked for and received (something I’ll admit that I like sometimes the best because then I know I’ll use the item) or the ones that we’re touching because someone knew you so well?
Again, please forgive my ignorance on this. Hopefully I haven’t offended. I ask because I really am interested and because gift giving was actually a theme in last night’s House episode (we are finally on Season 8!).