Presents. Sometimes I hate buying people presents. Not because I don't want to give a gift or spend the money, that's the easy bit, it's the obligation and the struggle of finding something unique and different. Christmas, birthdays, leaving, babies, get well, new homes and a plethora of other reasons that society have deemed as present giving time. I'd rather just give someone a gift randomly when I felt like it or when I've chanced across the perfect gift. With no obligation for that person to do the same in return. But that's not the world we live in, is it?
I was thinking about this at the end of January when considering Gavin's upcoming 30th birthday. When you've known someone a long time and have lived and shared together chances are that you've already given them all the easy gifts. These are the obvious ones, the ones you know they really want. The things they've desired for a long time, the things that you know will make them happy (normally because they've said so).
But certain occasions require additional thought and effort. Needless to say this often comes with extra expense - I think for most people that's the easy way out. Just. Spend. More. Make it bigger or more extravagant. That'll show them how much you care.
The 30th birthday is one of those occasions. It was whilst stressing over this that I realised my whole attitude towards gift giving might need reviewing.
Perhaps there is a challenge here?
Seeing as Gavin was going to turn 30 how about I give him one present every day for 30 days? It doesn't matter if the gifts are small providing they are things he would love or appreciate. The challenge is in being forced into thinking about it repeatedly, daily in fact, rather than throwing a large amount of cash at one big write-off moment (which is what I've tended to do in the past).
So that's what I did. The gifts varied from books to small trinkets to the occasional act of goodwill (I retrieved a favourite item of clothing that he thought he'd lost on a drunken night out by going to the venue and harassing the staff until they found it). Yes, this challenge became expensive quite quickly (even though I tried to spend no more than £5 each time). There were a couple of meals out, a concert and some other bits and pieces that cost about £20 or more.
The thing is, no matter how well you know someone and what you think they want (or need), if you have to keep buying them presents that they will like, use or appreciate it really makes you think about them, and your relationship with them, at a much deeper level. How well have you really listened? Are you sure they like that scent? That style? That colour? Do you really know who they are?
The final gift was a blank cheque. That may sound like a bit of a cop out but I wanted to be sure that there was at least one thing that he truly wanted. Something he would ask for if he could.
The cheque hasn't been written yet...
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