The Peculiar Concept of Gifts

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing peculiar about wanting to give someone a gift. What I have a problem with is the way some products are defined as gifts as if there are some things which are only gifts rather than things that we would buy for ourselves.

Now if the reason that we would not buy something for ourselves is that it is far too expensive and we can’t afford it then it would almost certainly be a great gift. Who would be upset at receiving a luxury car? This is also true of special things that are very costly but which we could afford but maybe could not justify the extravagance of. I am thinking here of designer clothes, our favourite perfumes and Jimmy Choo shoes. We may want them, we can afford them but that little voice in our heads is telling us that getting our boiler serviced is slightly more important. Now those things would make great gifts too. As would a boiler service now I come to think about it, if you need one.


The gifts that I have a problem with are the often small and rather random oddities that we would probably never choose to buy ourselves but which are categorised as gifts perhaps because there is no other useful ways to describe them. If we wouldn’t buy them why would we pleased to be given them? The answer, of course, is that we probably wouldn’t be glad at all. In fact these are the things that end up being taken to charity shops or boot sales when they are getting in the way. You know the kind of thing – cheap novelties that our lives would be much tidier without.

So why do people buy them? Perhaps the reason is imagination failure. Maybe it is because they have been defined as gifts and this has planted the seed in one’s mind that they would be perfect for auntie’s Birthday present or cousin Frank’s Christmas gesture.

Why do people choose things which are pointless when they could go for something that the recipient needs or which reflects their interests, or heaven forbid, something that they do buy for themselves occasionally!

The Gift Display

I always laugh when the big stores wheel out their “Gift” selections for Christmas. The shelves are always packed with the very things that you pray to God that you don’t get. Some gift shops are like that too. Full of pink poodle ornaments, hideous biscuit tins and novelty tea towels that wouldn’t match any kitchen that I have ever seen.

I have realised, though, that there are some gift shops and gift selections which feature some truly original, useful and appealing things which I might indeed like to treat myself too. I love travelling and so travel accessories are always interesting and I like cooking so kitchen gadgets usually grab my attention. Some gift selections are harbouring little treasures.

I just think that before people buy gifts they should stop and ask themselves if they are buying something because it has been defined as a gift or because it is something that their friends and family would actually like. Perhaps we should all simply ask ourselves if we would want the item and if the answer is no then it might be a good idea to put it back an choose something else.

Article by Sally Stacey