Friday, 23 December 2016

In Praise of "Default" Gifts

from here
There are certain gifts that are seen as being too standard to be considered good gifts. You'll see it a thousand and one times over the course of reading through a plethora of gift guides: "Do something different! Don't resort to X thing!"

The idea behind it is that we are all unique, beautiful snowflakes of wonderment - and these gifts aimed at the masses simply cannot do. They are too prosaic, too standard, too general. Some go as far to suggest that these basic items of gift-giving are unacceptable to the point of being rude; like it would almost be better to give nothing at all.

How did we get into this mess, society?

Let's get this straight. We had a few standard gifts - but why were they standard? Because they were universal, because you could show someone you cared by getting them something you were confident that they would like. It made the whole process easier on both the giver and the recipient, without the need for awkward "it's great..." smiles at the latest esoteric thing offered forth.

So we had this whole process that worked for both parties, it was simple while still showing that you cared... and we've demonized it? We've lost our collective minds.

In this season of goodwill, gifts are frequently involved. I want to express a little love for the basic gifts, the defaults, the things we are told we should never, ever buy - even though they are almost universally loved.

1. Flowers

from here
Flowers may be the default for occasions like this, but that's for a good reason. They are simple, beautiful, inoffensive and almost everyone likes them. Flower bouquets are used for events to mark the happiest moments in our lives. And - this point cannot be stressed enough - they're pretty! They go with every kind of home decor!

2. Chocolates

Tho, some would suggest, buying someone - particularly a woman - chocolate? How dull.

Here's the thing, though: people like chocolate. It's nice, gives you a bit of a dopamine rush and you can eat it in front of the TV with no airs and graces about you at all. A box of chocolates is also easily wrapped, so if you tend to end up in a snarl of ribbons and tape when wrapping then the simple shape appeals.

3. Spa Vouchers

"Here's a voucher that shows I think you should be able to have some time to yourself, indulging and pampering and looking after you."

What monsters we are for thinking the above is acceptable. Honestly.

4. Gift Vouchers

Actually, let's extend that even further - gift vouchers are seen as the ultimate "I didn't know what to get" gift. But... sometimes you don't know what to get! You can't peek into the inner workings of someone's mind, so why not afford them the opportunity to get something they really want? At the very least, you're saving them the trip from having to exchange the item you got them, and that they have absolutely no use for.

from here
So when it comes to buying gifts, go with what suits. If that's some highly-researched, niche item, then great! If it's a default, then that's great too! It may be a cliche, but sometimes, just making an effort is what matters and it's the idea that always counts. To show that you thought about that person and went to get something to make them smile. If that's not appreciated, well..



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