I look at my new Publix $25 gift card and while visions of pre-heated roast chicken and 2 for $5 bags of goldfish dance in my head, I think to myself, receiving is much better than giving. (As a note I’m Jewish so we’ve started the gift giving already). This $25 card means lunch for Penelope for a week and a bottle, I mean box, of cheap wine for mom. Sadly though the silver lining is tarnished. It’s not even silver but more grayish and probably filled with brain harming lead. Getting means giving. I need to give something to the person who gave the gift to me. Rather than thinking of the “look of joy” on their face, I see a loss of a ballet class for my daughter. How many adults get a look of joy on their face if you give them a gift worth less than $200 anyway?
Giving means I need to go to the store, fight for parking, fight the crowds and fight even harder for the attention of some cashier, then fight my way back to the car and home. All while entertaining and bathrooming a 3-year old who always needs to go when we're next in line. I did a test this year, on Black Friday I went to Toys R Us for the midnight opening. Let’s just say, never again. However, it was good for my wallet. I was so irritated by the time we worked our way up to the register, I had left half the things in my basket scattered throughout the store. I don’t need to give this, I thought. Who would miss that? I proudly had talked myself down from 20 items to 6. And two of those were Zsu Zsu hamsters that I really didn’t want but felt compelled to buy.
Let’s contemplate the homemade gift. There is nothing I could make that someone else couldn’t make better. Just compare my chocolate chip cookies to Entenmann’s and see for yourself. I see gorgeous cookie bouquets in Martha Stewart all the time and I’ve saved many of my old issues. Then reality sets in. I just finished wrapping a gift for one of my daughter’s teachers and it’s after midnight. And tomorrow is the last day of school before the vacation. I have yet to do the card. Only 2 more teacher assistants to finish up the gifts for after that.
And I am tired of hearing that old cliché that people don’t care what you give them. They do. And they are checking the bottom of their boxes to see if they can figure out from the glue and shape where the price label used to be, if it’s from TJ Maxx or Neiman Marcus. Hey, friend, there’s a reason you didn’t get the gift receipt too. This year I went "shopping" around my house. I only hope this wasn't the gift you gave me last year.