Frank is our host for the Truthful Tuesday series.
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When it comes to gifts, many people resort to gift cards or cash because they have no idea what to actually buy the person they want to give a gift to, or are concerned that the gift they choose might be wrongly interpreted, yet there are almost as many who feel that not getting an actual item as a gift is far too cold and impersonal. With the current health crisis, however, many people are being forced to choose monetary gifts as opposed to items simply because they are cheaper to ship. Nevertheless, there is still a divide over whether or not monetary gifts, whether in the form of cash, checks, or gift cards, are a cop-out.
When it comes to giving money, do you view it as a thoughtful gift, or as a sign that the giver didn’t care enough to think about a “real” gift?
Times have changed, as have attitudes. I have seen the wonder on a child’s face at a single most simple gift, and the nonchalant greedy fingers of an adult opening countless parcels then tossing them on a pile with no thought as to who they were from. I also heard of a demanding child throwing a well intended and moderately priced gift to the floor in a tantrum saying they only wanted money. They got nothing from the sender at all after that.
Cash over gifts though can be difficult.
If one opts for cash, the question is how much, or what is expected, by both the sender and receiver. When money is tight, we try to do the best we can with what is available, and years ago it was lovely to be able to shop, see something affordable, and know just the person to give it to.
Christmas is too commercialized now, too much mass production and sameness, nothing special, with a hefty price tag to match. Not being able to afford what would be deemed an acceptable gift, how does one compensate by sending cash which may well be frowned upon? Five pounds to someone on a low income is a lot, yet only chump change to those on salaries of £100K or more. It works the other way too, when someone financially better off spends a lot on a recipient who can only afford a few pounds can be embarrassing.
I was once told I was too generous as some gifts purchased were considered expensive at the time. My answer was always the same,
‘I do it while I can, as there will come a time when I can’t’.
In the 1980s, my budget for gifts for the outside family was £5 per child and £8 to £10 for adults. In later years when there were lots of kids, it was tacitly agreed to buy for the kids only, and a token gift for adults……. that was when the silly £1 pressies came to the fore, and it became a kind of competition as to who could buy the naffest gift. It put some fun back into Christmas, and then later at family get togethers, there was a Santa’s sack for the kids, and everyone put something in it. If you had two kids, you put in two gifts, if you had three kids, you put in 3, if only 1 you put in 1, but everyone had a budget of no more than £5 per gift, and trying to outdo anyone was simply not allowed. It worked, until the kids got older, tastes and interests changed, prices rocketed, and families drifted apart.
Gift cards or vouchers today are always popular, especially when the sender uses those issued by stores where the recipients shop. They can be used for food, treats, clothes, entertainment or put towards something more expensive. Cheques are welcome, but with banks closing and everything being done on-line, there is the hassle of paying them in.
We don’t send gifts to family now, other than a calendar to Bro in NZ. I send cards to everyone though, all of which are handmade.
Although probably considered trite, I still believe that it’s the thought that counts, and the fact that someone remembers you. There’s no price on that.