Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seeing it from another perspective

Presents. Everyone likes them, right? How far wrong can you go with giving a present? It's the thought that counts, isn't it? Or is it more about getting the perfect thing for the person you're giving it to, and if you can't find the perfect thing then you just keep looking.

This Christmas my view on presents was challenged a bit. When I'm shopping for presents I would generally say that I would try to buy something that fits the person I'm buying it for. I'd also say that I'm not very practised at buying presents for guys. I come from a family of all girls - I don't have brothers, my dad generally has a pretty boring Christmas present list (books, slippers, hankies). No offense to my Daddy, but that's just the sort of thing he likes. It's useful and he appreciates it. We are a family of lists, people think of things that they would like, or need, put them on the list, and other people buy them. I'm not saying that there aren't any surprises, but sometimes we go by the philosophy "well, it's a surprise to someone, even if not to the person receiving the gift"!

So this year was the first time I've ever been dating someone at Christmas, and therefore the first time I'd ever had to think about what to buy for a guy who isn't in my family. We went shopping together before Christmas, and he bought me some lovely things then, but I hadn't got him anything. I was then ill right before Christmas, and didn't manage to buy him anything. To cut a long story short, I finally bought him something when we were out together last Friday.

The thing is, it turned into a bit of a joke. He'd ask about his present, and I'd tell him to more he asked, the longer he wouldn't get anything. But I came to realise that he had a different view of presents. To him, it is the thought that counts, and he'd rather give something, than not give anything (or be delayed in giving). We chatted about it all, among other things, on Sunday afternoon and realised a bit more about where the other person was coming from. I realised how it looked that I hadn't bought him anything for ages, and he realised why I'd held off getting him something until I knew what he really wanted.

I'm sure that we'll continue to have misunderstandings, that we'll disagree about how to handle different situations, and that, like several couples I know, there will be the big things that we'll always disagree on (For several people I know it's how to put on the Christmas tree lights! I don't think either of us has particularly strong views on that, but there'll be something, I'm sure!) But I also know that I'm looking forward to having my viewpoints challenged more. To have the chance to think about a situation from another direction. And that, my friends, makes it all worthwhile.


Kathleen said...

My husband and I disagree about everything - how to cook meat and potatoes, how to hang Christmas lights... I thought we'd have to call off the wedding when we started arguing about which plates to register for! And when you think about it, none of these things are huge, at least not as huge as finding the person you're supposed to be with. It's just getting used to differences. (And then getting him to see things my way ;P)

Krazy Kate Designs said...

So, what did he end up getting?

Anna said...

I always feel pressure when buying presents for people, and now I really think about it, maybe it's because I worry if they don't like my present, it's a reflection on me, my bad judgement and that I don't know them properly!

A tad self-absorbed, but I've never thought of it like that before!

Right As Rain Creations said...

Ever since having kids, we've been poor, to the point where we get each other one small gift for Christmas and spend the majority of our budget on the kids.

My favorite was the year we got each other the EXACT same gift - Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD. Hahahah. We laughed so hard when we realized what we'd done!

Anyway, there are just going to be times when the gift is outstanding, and there will be times when it isn't very exciting at all. (and I'm talking how it fits the person, not just the amount of money spent).

I find that a card written from the heart will make any gift meaningful! :)

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