Recently an athlete from the Rio Olympics was gifted a BMW car by some sports association. The athlete wanted to return the car as the place she stayed in did not have the roads to drive the car on nor were there places to service the car. She had been given a gift that was of no use to her. This sets one thinking about the art of gifting.
We Gift What We Like to Receive
If we like books, we tend to gift people books. If we like watches we want to buy watches for everyone we love. If we like plants we think everyone will be happy to receive a potted plant as a gift. While the sentiment of gifting is appreciated, a little thought ought to go into our gifting. Gifting is not only about us it is about the other person too. We are happy with the other person's achievements -academic, sports, birthdays, marriage anniversaries- yeah before you say it, marriage anniversaries are achievements too!!! We want to express our happiness by buying them something. Paying attention to the importance of a person’s likes and dislikes will enhance the happiness quotient of the receiver of the gift. A person who is not much into reading, what will he/she do with books? It becomes a new paperweight or just a decoration on the shelf. What would a person who is non-religious do with a God's photo? Potted plants should be gifted to someone who has an interest in them and not to someone who does not know the difference between a potted plant and a lampshade!
Gifting An Experience or Material Stuff?
While we are spending time, money and effort to buy the gift, a little thought, in addition, will make the gift worthwhile for the other person. If you don't know the tastes of the other person, what is the harm in asking the other person what they would like for a gift? Ask wherever and whenever possible. Especially in important relationships, it would be a good idea to involve the receiver in picking the gift. Sometimes we hear that gifting an experience (movie, dinner, concert, circus, vacation) is better than gifting a material thing. When you want to gift a material thing, going along with the person and spending time with them in choosing the gift, rolls the gifting of experience and the material gift into one fine combo package.
It's About Them and Not Just About Us
Giving on one hand is about paying attention to the needs of the loved ones. Often we give (and receive) gifts that do not excite the receiver. Giving is about fulfilling the needs of the other person. I remember an old cartoon from RK Laxman. The minister gifts seeds to the farmers in a village and comes back a few months later and sees barren land. He asks why they did not sow the seeds that he had gifted them. The farmers reply that they were hungry and they ate the seeds. While that is extremely comical on one hand, it shows that if we can pay little attention to the needs of the other person, the giving experience can be satisfying to both. Long long ago, you could walk into anyone's house with a box of sweets as a gift and it would be welcome, today with Blood Sugar meters prominently displayed in the living room showcase of many people, your motives would be suspect if you gave them a box of innocuous sweets.
If you are inspired by this write-up and want to gift me, I am a person of simple needs, don't buy anything beyond a 2BHK, I can't maintain it. If your budget is modest, don't spend on anything beyond a Sedan class (certainly not a BMW), and if you say it is not what we give but the thought that is important and has some budget thoughts but a lot of affection, then a bar of dark chocolate or a bag of roasted almonds will do.