Thursday, December 10, 2015

gift giving

has anybody else noticed the trend towards gift cards and cash giving vs. an actual purchased something?

I certainly have.  I find myself looking for clever ways to wrap gift cards so that they feel more like opening something special.  I'm also not saying I'm going to change that.

I noticed it myself when talking (OK, emailing because who talks anymore) with family about Christmas and the kids "list" so that we might buy presents for the nieces and nephews.  Mind you, we always work to spend just the same amount and make everything fair.  None of this is bad.
Even the youngest kid, who's 11, wants gift cards.  I found myself missing purchasing an actual, thoughtfully purchased gift.  

Am I alone?  Does anybody else miss buying actual gifts?
I do and I don't.

I started buying gift cards when my daughter was in grade school and every weekend would find us at a birthday party for a school friend.  I personally didn't know these kids well enough to really pick something out and my daughter didn't always have a good idea on what to buy.  If we had something specific, we'd get that, but I was often stressing about it.  I would stop by my local Target (be sure to say that properly... Tar ghay.  Thank you.) and one of the ladies in the food court asked me if I was stressing out about another gift.  

Yes, yes I am!  I want it to be special.

Stop stressing about it.  Buy a gift card and be happy.

I thought about that.  Did I actually have 'permission' to buy a gift card for kids I didn't really know?  That's actually... wait... pretty cool.

So started by desire to then WRAP them special.  Because I couldn't just let it go at "giftcard...check.  card...check" and be done.

Ways I've wrapped gift cards:
  • My favorite idea for a while (before every 2 year old had a smart phone) was with a disposable camera and a little $1 photo book for them to put the pictures from their party in + gift card.  
  • I wrapped them in balloons.
  • I wrapped one in a paper mache balloon/egg that didn't try completely but I was so set on the idea of this awesome wrapping idea that I still brought it to the party.  Lord I wish I had a picture of the sad floppy somewhat moist "egg" with a gift card in it.  I bet that family still laugh about the crazy lady and her son with the unknown floppy ball thing they put the gift card in. 
  •  I tried to bury one in a home made dinosaur egg.  (note tried, though I have successfully hidden plastic dinosaurs in home made dino eggs that took FOR FREAKING EVER to dry.  That's the party where my mother in law took the pictures and somehow managed to get my VERY LARGE LEOPARD* CLAD BUTT IN EVERY PICTURE!  
  • I wrapped them in helium balloons.
  • I taped them to bricks and wrapped that.

But where was I?  Oh yes... gifts vs. gift cards

I wonder if part of it is just practicality.  What if I buy something and they don't like it?
What if I buy something and they don't like it and never return it.  Then I just wasted their money and they didn't get anything.  It's almost like a negative gift.

Am I the only person going through this?
Is this really only for a small segment of the people in my life and I should be OK with it because I am able to buy actual gifts for other people?


*leopard clad because all the parties we had for our kids were dress up parties.  I think kids should dress up all the time.  On this particular occasion I was a kitty cat.  My butt was in the pics because I brought a hammer so the kids could "excavate" their own dinosaurs from the now permanently dried concrete home made dino eggs.  I was bending over to make sure each kid had fun pounding away and didn't hurt themselves doing it.


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