Presents are a tricky thing - they can cause happiness or pain.
Presents are wonderful when both the giver and receiver are happy. Some of the best moments in my life have been experiencing someone overjoyed at the present which I gave them. I have also been blessed to have received some wonderful presents throughout my life, however, most of the time giving and receiving is not perfect.
Everyone knows how hard it can be to get an idea or find the right gift for someone. As the deadline approaches, you may end up buying something, anything and giving it with the statement: "I have the receipt if you want to exchange it..." You know you failed and they know you failed and that feeling sucks. In January, eBay is full of unwanted presents sold by unhonest recipients "oh, I love it! It's perfect!" And how come I never saw you wearing that thing I gave you which you loved?
Presents can cause pain years after the fact, for example, once someone had passed away and I discovered a whole closet full of presents still in their original packaging. They didn't want us to know that they didn't like it. That's the irony, they didn't want to hurt our feelings but end up hurting us anyway.
Presents can be a source of misery.
It's miserable to get something which clearly is "generic" like some neutral thing which the person keeps "on hand, just in case" or which is obviously a "re-gift", that is, a present which was intended for them but they don't want it so they're passing it on to me. For me personally, this is worse than not getting a present at all because it is insulting. Did they really think I wouldn't notice? It ruins my day to be confronted with the ugly reality of our relationship or the truth about that person, that they just don't give a sh*t.
The absolute most painful part of giving a present for me is when I do not get a thank-you.
It is especially hurtful when I give something I made myself and had invested a lot of my time. But its even more painful when I sent gifts by mail and they never acknowledged receiving it. It's too expensive to send packages to the US using a tracking service, so I just use the regular post office. Thus, I wouldn't know if the present didn't arrive or if they are being rude to not thank me.
So I am the one to call and ask "hey, did my present get there in time for... Christmas/ birthday / special occasion..." and then the answer comes slowly: "oh yeah, thanks". After a couple of such incidents, I usually make the suggestion to stop exchanging presents altogether. But that makes me sad too.
I hope this holiday season is a happy one for you and your loved ones especially as it relates to giving and receiving presents.
I'd be interested in whether this blog resonates with you - have you had similar experiences with presents?