I have come to a sad conclusion regarding gift giving:
Apparently I am terrible at it.
For the past couple of years it's seemed like no one wants the gifts I give them. Not coincidentally, I suppose, this timing coincides with the presence of a teenager in my house.
Time and agin I have found the various Christmas and birthday presents I gave my kid- all very graciously accepted, thanks mom it's beautiful etc.-- I keep finding them tucked away in a closet, still in their boxes. untouched.
Hm, I said to myself. I thought I was good at this "giving the perfect gift" thing. Apparently not. I mean, if the kid liked the "Psych"-themed bracelet she would have worn it at least once, right?
This got me thinking about gift giving.
Someone shows up on your doorstep with a gift. You never asked for it; it was all his idea. Now you have to figure out what to do with it. If it came by UPS you have to dispose of the oversized cardboard carton. If it came with a gift receipt you have to make an unwanted trip to the mall to see what can be done about it. Or, you could just use or wear the the thing, regardelss of whether it appeals to you or not.
A couple of weeks ago I sent someone a mink coat. No, really, a mink coat. (Consignment stores rock.) Waited for response. Finally got one: "A generous gift but I don't wear fur."
At first I was a little hurt. I mean, if I got a mink coat in the mail, well WOO HOO!!!
But the operative word there is "I."
I sent someone something I would love. I never asked her if she would love it. In my defense who the hell wouldnt' love to get a mink coat in the mail? What madness is this?? And it's from a consignment shop, those critters have been dead for 40 years! It's a little late to get all PETA on this!
(BTW that's the last time I try to surprise someone, it just doesn't work out.)
Now instead of a delightful surprise I've saddled her with a chore. Now instead of wearing a beautiful mink she's going to haul it to the UPS store, shell out 17 bucks to mail it back, and try to get it done during the busiest time of the year when she has a million other things to do. Intending to lighten up her life, I inadvertently complicated it.
So I am done with gift giving, or at least the so-called "creative" side of it. From now on nothing but specific requests for me. Everyone will probably be happier and I won't waste any more time I should be spending on writing, anyway.