Why the obligation?
By Craig Allan, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year again. The holiday season where we eat copious amounts of food, enjoy or maybe endure the endless versions of Let it Snow, and engage in some of the North American society’s longest running traditions. But there is one tradition that is getting more annoying year after year: gift giving.
To be clear, I am not against giving gifts to the people I care about—I love doing it. I love analysing and researching my loved ones’ tastes and needs and finding unique and creative gifts for them—that is quite fun. However, as the years have gone on, it has gotten harder for me to find new and innovative gift ideas for my family.
For example, my brother is now in a position where he makes more money than I do. Anything he wants he can just buy for himself, so it makes it difficult to get him something that he will use or like when if he wants something he can just buy it for himself. Worse, his birthday is on Christmas Eve, so after struggling to try and come up with a good gift for his birthday, I have to double down to find him a good gift for Christmas.
Christmas is not the only time where I have trouble finding a great gift. For instance, my mother’s birthday is in April. She is especially difficult to shop for because every time I ask her what she would like, she gives the same answer: “peace and quiet.” There are times where I pull out a Herculean effort and really find a great gift, but then I have to reset again because three weeks later, here comes Mother’s Day. When it comes to good gifts, my dad used to be the easiest one. He likes sports books, breakfast, and a lot of other things. Recently, it has even gotten harder to shop for him as last year he told me he does not want any more books or clothes, which eliminates a large majority of the gifts I can give him. I can’t just keep giving him coffee and gift cards because that can get old, and let’s face it, gift cards are the laziest gift. I know they are convenient, and the recipient can use them a lot more than then can a physical item, but I find they lack a level of thoughtfulness. I want to give a gift to my dad and to my other loved ones that’s a real surprise—not a gift that merely musters an “oh thanks” and is forgotten. But the pressure of gift-giving during holidays and birthdays usually leaves people with this last option
Usually I pull through (at least I think I do) but with the fact that my parents really don’t need any more stuff, my brother being able to buy much cooler things than I can ever afford, and the fact that I will be going to university full-time for the next three years, it is going to be hell trying to not look like I am half-assing the gifts I am giving. I wish I could just give gifts to the people I love when I find something that is great for them, not for a holiday or birthday simply because it’s an obligation.
Right now, there is a shirt at the store I work at that has the Grinch on it that says “Original Grinch” that I think would be great for my brother. Instead of waiting until Christmas, where he will get it and have to put it away in a closet until next year, I’m going to buy it and give it to him as soon as I can so he can wear it during the holiday season. Christmas gifts and birthday gifts are nice, but if it is true that it’s the thought that counts, then let’s pull off the veil off the holidays and just give the gifts to the people we love when we find the best gift. No matter what day of the year it is.