Gift. noun. 1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present. Dictionary.com
I had a conversation this week with my friend --let's call her Cheryl-- about gift-giving, during the holidays and all the other gift-giving "opportunities". I was in the middle of wrapping my Christmas gifts and mentioned that I have begun to exchange gifts with fewer and fewer people. Really, I don't need another thingy. What I've started to suggest is that we get together, treat each other to food and drink…or something else we both like to do, and just enjoy each other's company. That's what I really want for Christmas (and usually my birthday, too).
Then Cheryl told me a story about how she feels slighted by a friend to whom she has given many gifts, though has received few (or none, depending on how you look at it) in return. Cheryl says that, over the years, she has given Friend and her family a number of gifts…8 to be exact. Birthday gifts to Friend and hubby, birthday and Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts to the kids, housewarming gifts to the whole family and on and on. When Cheryl had her housewarming, Friend brought her a homemade cake. It's a touching and personal gift, in a way. But was she being chintzy? Probably, but I really don't know. Maybe she couldn't afford to do better. At any rate, Cheryl certainly didn't appreciate it. She expected more.
I don't always feel compelled to give a gift just because it's an occasion where a gift is expected. In some ways, I'm not sure Cheryl should have given them all those gifts in the first place. To me, gifts should come from the heart and once you start keeping track of who-gave-what-to-who then it doesn't seem so heartfelt. Many people give gifts because they're expected. I sometimes don't. Read more: http://www.thespinsterliciouslife.com/2011/12/when-is-gift-not-gift.htm