I believe in good gift giving. I’m not one for practical gifts, nor for asking people what gift they want and simply buying it for them. I don’t want to give people gifts they could buy themselves. I don’t like giving gift cards, or money, or anything impersonal. That’s not what gifts are about.

I view gifts as a creative ode to the receiver. Highlighting their interests, recognizing their tastes, and even delivering gratitude for their very being. If I can do that with a well-executed theme at the same time, even better! Some people, of course, are harder to give gifts to than others, though.

When I was a sophomore in University, I briefly dated a guy named Leo, for about two months. Our relationship happened to coincide with Christmastime, so I was put to the task of buying him a Christmas gift. I was up for the challenge.

At the time, Leo had been expressing a strong desire to save up money and move out of his parents’ house. He wanted to buy a condo in downtown Leafton. On this notion, I set the basis of my gift. I bought him a shiny silver castle piggy bank. Along the top, in fancy scrawl well suited for a castle I had the words, “Condo Fund” engraved. Just to put my gift over the top, I filled the bank with my own personal collection of pennies, which were not yet defunct at the time. There were hundreds of them.

“Condo fun? I don’t get it.” My friend Paul commented. I’d asked him to come with me to the mall to pick my perfect gift up. I was starting to regret it.

I rolled my eyes, annoyed. Paul could be so dense sometimes. “Not condo fun, condo FUND. Like money. Savings. Like this is my contribution to his big dream, helping him buy a condo.”

“But you’re just going to fill it with pennies? He can’t buy a condo with pennies.”

“It’s symbolic of my support!!” I exclaimed, deeply offended that he wasn’t marveling at my marvelous gift idea. I find it rather hard to deal with people who don’t understand my way of thinking. Wasn’t it obvious? “He doesn’t want to buy a castle either! He wants to buy a condo. But then he’ll be like the king of his own castle.”

Paul never did marvel at the idea.

A few days after Christmas, Leo and I went to have a belated holiday meal at a restaurant and to finally exchange gifts. I was still so confident with my gift, that I insisted he open mine first. I handed over his package, pristinely wrapped with the Three Wise Men paper I’d been so lucky to find. I watched his face intently as he pulled the castle out of its cardboard and styrofoam.

“What is it?” He asked as the pennies rattled inside. His face was blank, unmoved. “A piggy bank?”

My conversation with Paul sprung to mind, and I wondered if all men were this vapid. No. They couldn’t be. I urged, “read the inscription.”

“Condo fund?” He read in his annoying nasally voice. “Well, that’s cute…”

I began to panic. I wasn’t used to my gifts falling so flat. I began to wonder if it really had been a dumb idea. Maybe it wasn’t a sweet gift at all. Maybe I’d messed up and given my new boyfriend a truly bizarre gift indeed. I should have just bought him a punny t-shirt instead.

My apprehensions about my gift were suddenly put at ease shortly after I opened his gift. I was nearly beside myself as I pulled from his bag, beneath a single sheet of tissue paper, a straw voodoo doll with a grainy picture of his own face printed flat on the head of the doll. He’d ordered the atrocity from some random website online. He hadn’t even bothered to carefully select an attractive looking picture of himself! My eyes widened and for a moment, I couldn’t speak. I wanted to cry. I wanted to shove the doll back in the box and hurl it in the garbage. I would. I would hurl it in the garbage. What on earth would I want that for!

“I thought it was funny,” Leo snickered at his own narcissistic gift, unable to detect my horror. And that was it with the gift too. He bought it because he thought it was funny. It was devoid of any further thought or sentiment. I couldn’t believe he’d had the gall to even question my gift. I wondered if by some ironic twist of fate, somewhere, someone was attacking their lame Alexis voodoo doll. It sure felt like it.

Needless to say, I broke up with him shortly thereafter.

2009

33 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. Sometimes, the gifts we give to others are just, reflections of our selves, and we often believe that what we’re giving someone else, the person will like, without knowing, that what we like, may not be what the person who’d received the gifts liked, and so, gift-giving, is never easy…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is not an easy task, but I think that’s part of the fun! You’re right though, a lot of the times, the things you’d like for yourself aren’t always what the other person would like.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  2. I know some people who are really good at gift giving. They’ll remember some random comment you made six months earlier and give you something you never realized you really wanted, but you did.
    Unfortunately I’m not like that at all. I draw a blank when I have to choose a gift for someone. Or go into panic mode, as the case may be.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I do that too! I have a list on my phone where I jot down people say they’d like to have in passing and buy it for them on the next gift-giving occasion. That’s always well appreciated.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you ever test the voodoo doll though?

    But all jokes aside I’m pretty much the same way with gifts. I like to give them something I know is them and not necessarily what they ask for. I think it might possibly be a man thing. All too often I put together something heartfelt for my hubs and he is just like “okay? thanks.” 🤨💁‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this story! I pride myself on good gift giving and while I realize that not everyone does the same, it still hurts a little when I don’t receive something thoughtful in return. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It just has to be something that demonstrates intention and thoughtfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would have suggested a swap – I’d want my penny collection back. Good for you for trying so hard to find something thoughtful for your thoughtless friend. Who buys a voodoo doll as a gift? That is quite odd. Glad he’s gone from your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG! I am exactly like you with regard to gifting. I feel I’ve taken it to an art form and usually the recipients validate that. But, I did have one epic fail that we still joke about. It was nearly ten years ago and I had just signed on to eBay for the first (and last) time. My husband is hard to buy for. I purchased a dachshund band for him. You see we have three doxies…he likes music…it was such a cute set…doxie standing playing guitar…doxie seated at a piano…whimsical…vintage! A few months later, we donated it at a resell store right next to our favorite restaurant. They immediately put it in their front display window. We went to have lunch and when we passed the window on the way out, the band was gone! Well, somebody appreciated it…and they paid a lot less for it than I did! I like the format of your blog…fun, original!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a perfect gift that’s representative of your lives! I love the idea! But I can see how it might not go over so well. I’m glad someone else appreciated it in the end.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, your gift was perfect and fits my way of thinking too. I really like the line that a gift is an ode to the receiver. I guess the only thing I can think of right now that I gave that I felt had the same idea. My father in law was a big fan of President Reagan. I bought him a pretty glass ginger jar and filled it with Jelly Belly jelly beans (you know Reagan loved them) and he laughed and loved it. Used the ginger jar lid to fill with the candies and passed it around.

    Well memory lane is rising up before me. In high school I dated a guy briefly who wanted to be a weather man. So I gave him one of those toys/games that had plastic pieces you’d stick on a board. This one was called Weaver the Weatherman and the pieces had yellow rain coat and hat and things to assemble the little weather man figure. Mom and I thought it was great but not sure said boyfriend liked it. Oh well!! We try!! For some reason I still smile over his reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both of those gifts sound amazing! Thanks for sharing your stories! You just reminded me of a Kris Kringle gift gone awry. Some people just don’t get it, I guess. I’ve noticed a lot of people value practicality in gifts more than personalized attention. To each their own. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      Like

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