I watched a segment posted on YouTube from Jimmy Kimmel where he asked parents to deliberately wrap an unwanted present and give it to their child. The parent was then required to tape the child’s reaction to these presents. The results were not good. Many children could not hide their disappointment and some reacted with outright anger towards their parents, also not good. The best one by far was the little girl who received a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a bite out of it. She didn’t seem entirely disappointed with the gift; she seemed more confused and wondered why her sandwich had a bite taken. Her brother on the other hand wanted to eat what was left of the sandwich. Gift giving is a tricky endeavor even during the best of times and when one considers the added pressure of the holidays it can become problematic.
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Everyone wants to find that perfect give. They hunt and search because they not only want to find something special they want it to be unique. This is difficult, but only because we forget the love behind the gift. In the case of parents deliberately trying to get a negative reaction there is no love and these gifts really don’t count. For the majority of people purchasing something for their loved ones, they want a gift that expresses this love. They want to give something that the recipient needs as well as wants. The giver is hoping the recipient will express a positive reaction to the gift. I remember a year when my husband’s Grandmother sent us a basket of dried fruit. Not only was this a massive basket of fruit, more than my husband and I could consume together, I wasn’t really fond of dried fruit. I can write this now because she has since passed, but at the time I told her I loved the gift and it was the best thing I had received. I also remember getting handmade oven mitts from this same Grandma that I still use to this day and will always treasure. It’s not the gift; it’s the thought that counts.
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My husband’s Grandma was trying to make me happy and while some people would frown upon oven mitts, I thought they were great because she made them for me. So when you see those gift guides in the newspapers and magazine think about why you would give a particular gift. Is it something elaborate that the recipient would not purchase for themselves but love to own? Is it the perfect gift but you know that they have no clue that it exists but would buy it if they knew? Is it just something that they would want? It is impossible to have all the answers so just go with your heart. If you give from your heart the gift is sure to be appreciated, no matter what it is.