The perfect gift

presentsI hate buying Christmas presents – or more I hate choosing them. Giving is great when you know the perfect gift that’s really going to be appreciated, but more often than not I find myself looking for presents for the sake of giving something, anything.

I genuinely don’t think I’d mind if no-one bought me a Christmas present, I’d be more than happy with Christmas good wishes, yet when you know you’re going to receive gifts you feel you have to give something back in return. This year we’re baking presents for our extended family, though I’m not wholly convinced they’ll all appreciate our efforts.

Maybe I’m selfish – I dislike shopping at the best of times and I have a tendency to leave gift buying until the last minute. I know that others really like to receive presents, I’m just not very good at selecting those elusive ‘perfect’ gifts. Maybe searching for ‘perfect’, rather than good enough, presents is where I’m going wrong. Will I appreciate gifts, well-chosen or not? Of course.

My grandma always asks for a completely honest answer when she asks: do you like this/will you use this? Offering to take back presents and replace them with something more useful or preferred in return if the answer is no. I appreciate this effort to make sure that everything she buys and gives is actually wanted and useful – it saves waste and unused gifts lying around the house. However this seems to be a maximising attitude, promoting discontent.

At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts, and even a generic gift shows that someone has thought of you. While I dislike the waste and materialism of Christmas, I’ll still be putting on my best ‘oh it’s what I’ve always wanted’ expression throughout the festive season.