Both giving and receiving gifts are paradoxical activities. On the surface, they’re signs of generosity and gratitude. However, forced-gift-giving events (birthdays, Christmas exchanges, house warmings) can be troublesome.
When you’re the giver, you have the time pressure of buying something before the event combined with showing that you give a damn. That adds a lot of unwanted pressure to your life and a chance to miscommunicate.
When you’re receiving the gifts, you don’t want to inflict that same pressure on your friends. Many of us have so much crap in our house already that adding more things just means more targets for a KonMari sparks-no-joy cleansing down the road. Invitations for birthday parties occasionally state “no presents except your presence” as a way to remove that pressure.
But sometimes. Sometimes, you receive a gift, and it’s so thoughtful, or above and beyond what you were expecting, that it warms your heart. And sometimes, you find the perfect gift, and the look of joy once the present is opened is immensely satisfying. Both are enough to make up for all the gift cards and useless tchotchkes cluttering your space.
Here’s to giving and receiving more of those joy-creating gifts.