Christmas constantly gets a bad rap for being a superficial shopping-fueled holiday – and sure, this is when retailers (big box stores and small businesses alike) do most of their annual sales. But giving someone a gift, for Christmas or their birthday or anniversary or whatever, is more than materialistic.
It’s a gesture that demonstrates your understanding of who they are. It shows that you remembered when your friend mentioned passively that she misses those cookies she ate during study abroad. That you paid attention when your mom complained about her malfunctioning headphones at the gym. That you enjoyed watching The Pianist as much as your dad did, so why not give him the CD soundtrack?
I’ve been known to be less-than-enthusiastic upon receiving money or gift cards. Sure, those things are handy and cash $$ is king, but it demonstrates to me that the gift-giver falls into one of two categories: 1) they put off their holiday shopping and couldn’t locate a more thoughtful gift; or 2) they have no understanding of who I am as a person and what my interests are. Ok, maybe that’s a little bit dramatic, but hopefully you get the point. If you don’t, I’ll still accept cash.