Our culture, unfortunately, misunderstands giving. We think of it, honestly, as trading. I get you something, you get me something—hopefully we spend about the same amount of money so no one feels awkward. We all know that panicked feeling when a friend shows up at our door in December with a wrapped package in her hand, and we realize we didn’t get anything for them. We now feel we “owe” them a gift. I’ve read articles in women’s magazines that suggest keeping a wrapped stash of generic gifts in your front closet for such unexpected occasions. Kind of takes the meaning out of it, doesn’t it?
According to Vedantam, “recipients are often unhappy with gifts, givers are increasingly enclosing receipts with gifts to allow for exchanges; 49 percent.” I do not agree with exchanging or returning gifts. I mean I would understand because I also have got a gift that I didn’t like. I think gifts are just gifts. She also says, “There is a risk in giving the wrong gift,” but I think there is no such a wrong gift. You can’t judge givers or complain about the gifts you received by the prices, qualities, or quantities. The most important thing is the gift giver’s mind. The givers probably think a lot about recipients while they buy the gifts. They might have got the gifts for you after considering milion times what you would like most. I think the true meaning of gifts comes from the giver’s’ mind. So should we just feel gratitude about that we received a gift and think about the true meaning of the gift?