Family Life

True Confessions: I’m a Terrible Gift Giver

It’s true; I’m simply not good at giving someone a gift. When it comes to buying a family member or a friend a gift for the holidays, something in me just shuts down and I completely forget all of their interests, needs, and/or wants. Who cares if I’ve known them for most, if not all, of my life? The second I take to Amazon or walk into Target, all thoughts leave my mind of potential gift ideas.

If only Target really told me what I needed when I walked through the sliding doors. “Welcome to Target! Your mom would love to have a new pair of slippers. You can find them in the shoe department.” The more specificity, the better when it comes to tracking down where they are in the store, too. However, that’s a whole other topic to discuss at a later date.

In terms of gifts, I resort to (almost always) candles, fuzzy socks, candy, or baked goods. You can’t fully fail with those, right? Unless you have someone who is picky about their scents, which is absolutely a thing to consider. So perhaps you can fail when it comes to candles. See how this downward spiral of mine begins? Thankfully, gift receipts exist, and I am quite sure they were created for fellow terrible gift givers like myself.

I’m not alone in my struggles with gift giving. I know there are more of us out there, so much so, that there are studies backing why we are such bad gift givers. No, I’m serious. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research says that the reason why we are such awful gift givers is because we psych ourselves out. We heavily focus on the sentimentality of the gift, how we want the gift receiver to be so impressed and touched by the gift, that we wind up giving them a picture frame. Now don’t get me wrong, picture frames are lovely, but I needed an example.

I think that reasoning is spot-on for me. I always focus on wanting to find a gift that would really mean a lot to the person that I completely freeze when it comes to making a purchase. I’ll procrastinate like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll scour every online gift list I can find, and after hours of searching, I won’t be any further along in the process than when I began the search. I’ll definitely be more stressed, though, because by then they have started the “order-now-and-get-it-by-Christmas” countdowns. Talk about elevating the anxiety in an already stressful situation.

I’ve done my research on how to be a better gift giver, too. Just trying to better myself, of course. There are articles that will give you ideas to replace your terrible ones. For example, if you’re thinking of gifting someone clothes this year, consider giving them a gift card to the store instead so you don’t end up buying them the wrong size. It happens to the best of us…honestly. Or if you’re really in a pinch for time, don’t buy the first item you see. Back away slowly from the item and take a lap around the store before you decide. We all know that Target has Bullseye’s Playground, and once you’re in there, it’s hard to come out without something.

I will admit that no one has complained about the gifts I have given them before; everyone is more than thankful for the gifts they receive. So, this stress bubble I have created is my own doing. Now creating stress for myself is something I am very good at. Luckily, I manage to navigate through the bubble every year, and I’m quite blessed to be in a place where I can even get them a gift. So while there are countless articles on how to become a better gift giver, I will continue to thrive in the chaos I create when trying to find the best ones on my own because, as we all know, it’s the thought that counts.

I will say, though, my sister created an Amazon wish list this year, and I am beyond excited about it. Now, if I could convince everyone to do the same thing…

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