The Art of Gift Giving - Part 1 (People Who Are Never Satisfied)


Gifts. It's that season again. It can be stressful to try and buy the right gift for your loved ones. For the next few days, I'll be talking about the art of gift giving.

Today's post deals with people who are never satisfied no matter how much thought you put into the gift. If you know a person like this, please read on.

For years, trying to find the perfect gift for my mother was the one thing that I can equate to hell on earth. Every year, for Mother's Day, Christmas, and her birthday, I walked around the shopping mall in a ball of angst and stress, hoping to please the mother who never really seemed very satisfied with any of my gifts. If it was an item of clothing, it wasn't her style. If it was a gift card, she complained it wasn't personal enough. Even though she was an avid gardener, if I sent her flowers, she would say, "Why spend so much money on something that dies in a week?"  And then one day, I had an epiphany. My mother did not want a traditional gift at all. I figured out that she feels loved and appreciated when I do things for her or with her.  A gift outside of those parameters is not as meaningful.

I now skip the mall completely.  When Mother's Day rolls around, you can find me in some old clothes, swatting insects and digging up flower beds in my mother's front yard. For years, she has been planting her own flowers. Now, that is my gift to her. She can appreciate her flowers for way longer than a week, without having to experience the aching bones and muscles that go along with crouching over in the sun and shoveling dirt.  

The key to people like my mom is finding a gift that either saves them time and energy or allows them the opportunity to spend more time enjoying life with the people they love. A great Christmas gift for my mom was taking her to New York on the train. We talked for hours on the ride up there and then spent the day visiting with family, checking out the window displays at Macy's, and watching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. 

The next time someone seems picky, think about whether there are other ways to make them happy outside of conventional gifts.



(Image is from istockphoto)