Dating Advice

Being Present: Giving Gifts

23 Comments 14 December 2008

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There are many lists of suggested presents for “that person” in your life this holiday season. I don’t have one. If you are interested in discovering gifts that bring the most satisfaction to the recipient, this is for you.

The trick is to give presents that provide sustainable value beyond the money and effort put into the gift.

When you’re deciding on a gift for a SigOt, consider the following:

  1. Does this gift reflect how well I know the recipient? Grandparents are infamous for taking this idea to a particular extreme by giving things like underwear and socks. Sure, you might need them, but do you really want to receive them as a gift? Probably not. Be conscious of what is functional and what is practical. Do what you can to avoid the latter unless you’ve been asked specifically for something.
  2. Will this gift tell the recipient how much I appreciate them multiple times? Admit it, when we give a gift it’s nice to be recognized for our action. There are few things more satisfying than observing a recipient”s reaction to a well-planned present. Make your SigOt’s day for many days to come with a present that has lasting quality! For example, if she has always liked horses, giving her a Clydesdale sculpted out of ice is really lovely but buying her riding lessons at a nearby stable will earn you continuous credit.
  3. Does this gift place an innacurate value on my relationship with the recipient? Make a quick note of where you stand in your relationship and hold it in your mind. Are you purchasing a bathrobe for the woman you tell others you’d give your life for? Is the woman you’re buying the tennis bracelet for a brand new girlfriend?In the first instance, you are assuming an extremely low value on the relationship and probably deserve the doghouse. In the second, you’ve put a lot of value on a relationship headed in a direction you can’t possibly know yet!

Use this as a starting point, not an endgame. Only you know all the details needed to choose a gift that will provide lasting value for her! The vacuum cleaner has long been on the list of taboo Christmas gifts for a woman, yet I know many who would love a Kitchen Aid mixer!

Avoid gifts she’ll respond to with “Did you give me this because you think I’m fat/stupid/dirty/smelly/old/or unfashionable?” This includes gym memberships or equipment, those horrible “bath sets,” gift certificates for wrinkle treatment, and makeover sessions.

In these tight times, you might not be able to buy your long-time love that beautiful necklace. But you could agree to wholeheartedly give up an argument you’ve been stubborn about. You might not have the funds to take your new girlfriend skiing for the weekend, but you could plan a fun day together. In the land of relationships, creativity and passion will always be king.

That said, be ready to receive some ill-considered presents this holiday season. Your grandparents might give you their 1960’s era Kelvinator fridge because they heard you need one. Your girlfriend might actually buy you a paisley tie. Remember, when you react badly to a gift, you are saying that you don’t care for the best efforts of the giver. Be careful with that!

How are you giving differently this holiday season?

Best to you!


Photo by Redjar


- who has written 34 posts on The Dating Papers.

S drinks a lot of tea and enjoys late-night walks on the beach. He lives with his beta, Balthasar.

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23 Comments so far

  1. Seth says:

    Azmike: Oh, don’t think for a second that I didn’t get beat up before I got to where I am. I’m just as guilty of giving ridiculous presents as the next guy. I’ve made a point to learn from the disappointed looks and sideways glances at ill-considered gifts and make better decisions the next time around. It’s a journey!

    Mrs. Cox: Thanks for visiting! You’re right. It is so very easy to get caught up in the craziness and forget what the gifts are supposed to be about. Just because a holiday has been commercialized beyond what we’d like is no reason to neglect thoughtful and passionate participation!

    Best to you!


  2. Seth, I hate gifts that are simply purchased. The best gifts are those that people have thought about. I value a home cooked meal, a hug, and a massage more than any material possession. Moving away from purchased gifts would be a wonderful trend and also bring out the creativity in people.

  3. kitchen aids have a variety of different appliances that can help you cook your food easier –~

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