The other side: Giving gifts


Don't get me wrong; I love getting presents for people; I just can't stand receiving them.  Presents make me unhappy because they aren't the right thing for me.  However, when I get someone something, I usually get them something I believe is exactly the right thing.  It's less that I'm a romantic about things than that I have some sense of knowing when I've found the right present.  Just like for myself, I usually won't buy something that I just think someone might like; it has to be something that I feel they will really connect with and use.  Of course, I tend not to buy a lot of presents for people other than Dani.

It's hard to get her presents though.  I place two almost mutually exclusive rules I adhere to in my gift-buying, and it makes it a really, really difficult game to play:
1) The present has to be exactly the right present.
2) The present has to be a surprise.

That means I can't ask questions to make certain I'm getting it exactly right, but I'm still shooting for it to be perfect to make is a surprise.  I don't want her to be dissatisfied, want to exchange it, etc.  I don't do gift certificates.  Xmas ought to be just like it was when you were a kid: You open your present and you play with it right out of the box.

I spend all year long compiling a list of potential presents for Dani (and a few other people).  I start seriously entering more ideas and, conversely, consulting said lists as Xmas or b-days get closer so I'll know what to get.  Of course, Dani's b-day is 12/1, our anniversary is 12/22, and Xmas is 12/25, so I have quite a bit of work to do every year.  And I'm inevitably broke when it's all over.

To help organize the chaos and generate some more ideas, I started break things up by themes.  For Dani's birthday, I gave her "practical presents."  They don't always fall into this category, but usually I aim for household items like a shoe rack, waffle iron, veggie chopper, bath robe, etc.  All these were things that she wanted or needed but wasn't necessarily looking for or expecting me to get her.  I love to get her things she didn't even know she wanted.  After all, that's who she was for me.

Our anniversary is always about getting romantic things.  The emphasis is on our relationship.  For example, I gave Dani a photo album for all our pictures, a ring, her favorite flowers, etc.  This year it was an even more special ring: One that came with a proposal.

I consider Xmas more about fun presents, things that hearken back to childhood, so I got her silly things she had mentioned over the previous year like sea monkeys, one of those bobbing bird things, a toe ring (which was just a joke), etc.  For me, Xmas has also traditionally been when you get the "big" present, so that was when I got her a telescope and a digital camera.  I did that again last year where I finally had enough cash to get her a "real" digicam (i.e., a Canon Rebel XT SLR).  This year it was more accessories for that camera.

With the digital camera, I knew which brand and which model more or less already.  I spent the months leading up to Xmas trying to get little bits of info out at a time while trying not to be too obvious about it.  I could certainly sit down and interrogate her, but it's much cooler to come up with a surprise, don't you think?  At least it is if it's something that you know the recipient will really, really enjoy.  And unlike me, Dani isn't too picky, so I think she would be happy if I was in the ballpark.  As you probably know already, I'm not so easy to please.  The only thing I ever want for Xmas is to win this challenge I set for myself to make her happy.


Copyright 2006 Alexplorer.
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