Gift Giving: It's the Thought that Counts
Gift-giving can be a nerve-wracking experience. While you or someone you know may mean well, either you or they end up getting the wrong thing. Others may seem to be able to give better gifts than you can. No matter how many times you hear the phrase "It's the thought that counts," you still feel like you've lost your gift-giving mojo (if you had any to begin with). Sometimes the problem is easy to identify, such as getting something for the person who seems to have everything or the fact that you simply have no idea what a certain someone might like. In other instances, however, the problem is not your lack of creativity but their lack of appreciation for your efforts (for which the thought truly does count).
With the economy being what it has been and still is to this day, it may be difficult to work the ideal gifts into your already tight budget. The recipients of these gifts either get it or they don't (and those who don't understand typically don't deserve anything but coal). Furthermore, it's easy to become disheartened to see your humble and thoughtful gifts upstaged by gifts from people who can afford better. In this case it's no one's fault, but it is frustrating for the person whose efforts end up getting overlooked as a result. Making something can go either way as some people are great at crafting things that people actually want or will cherish forever while others are not so fortunately skilled (or in other cases are skilled enough but misunderstood by the masses or those closest to them).
Sometimes there may seem like there is no point in trying if the people you give presents to are not as appreciative of them as they should be. It's one thing to keep things to be polite, but losing or breaking items that were gifts is often worse on the giver than having them requested to be returned. If this is a chronic issue, consider giving them something you won't mind them losing or breaking; failing at that, make an agreement not to get each other anything (though that often backfires too). It's the same frustration that comes from making a home-cooked meal only to have the person you're cooking for come home with a bag of take-out. While often this is because two people are not quite on the same wavelength, other times it is just plain inconsiderate and rude.
If you can afford to buy nice things, that should not count against you. Money does not indicate a lack of imagination or forethought, but being short of funds does require a bit more effort and imagination to make something out of not much. Both the finer and the simpler things in life ought to be appreciated, but the care a loved one puts into selecting or making a gift is far more important than the price an item carries. The people in your life and how well they try to get to know you should mean more than what tangible materials they can give you, for their love is worth far more than mere objects can convey, sentimental value aside.
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