Socks, jocks and deodorant, the Christmas present cliché were, for me an unfortunate reality. As children my family had stockings about the size of a wellington boot. These were not for the actual gifts from Santa but more little knickknacks to keep us busy and relatively quiet until the grandparents woke up.
Somewhere along the line, the matchbox car, hand held ball bearing game, colouring book and nougat bar morphed into sock, jocks, deodorant and a nougat bar. We do not particularly like nougat and never have it at any other time of the year. It is not even mentioned, but every year there it is in the stocking.
I would like to think that the socks jocks and deodorant were in the stocking ironically, however I am not sure that there was that much though involved.
As children the only thing worse as a Christmas present was school stationery or uniform. Coloured pencils, crayons and textas in themselves can be a fun gift for children but not if they have to be put away until school starts. Particularly in Australia where there are 6 weeks summer holiday sitting around the house between Christmas and the start of the school year. Though the wait to colour still better than unwrapping and exercise book.
As adults, deodorants, soaps and body washes anything that says “you have a body odour problem” is a disappointing and somewhat insulting gift. They are also as equally thoughtless as socks and jocks.
If it is the thought that counts then a generic gift voucher for a department store is not a gift from someone who cares about you. This gift really says “I have no idea what to get you or what you like – you sort it out.” Gift vouchers for specific experiences or products can be extremely thoughtful.
The person likes outdoor adrenalin activities then a gift for abseiling through a waterfall is very thoughtful and personalised, the voucher simply allows the person to book in on a day that suits their calendar. Similarly a book of pre-paid cinema tickets for a movie buff. A voucher for the local CD/DVD store is a little bit thoughtful…but not very thoughtful.
This voucher says I know you like music but don’t care enough to know which bands/styles of music you like nor could I be bothered to find out which CDs you are looking forward to owning.
I understand with digital downloading that this has become problematic without vouchers.
Vouchers or tickets to a live show are convenient and cheap to post when the gift giver and receiver are geographically distant from each other.
One year my dad bought me a voucher for an item bought on my behalf for a third world country. A thoughtful gift. That should have been enough. It could have been for a well, digging a latrine or a bag of seeds. Dad went one step further. I was going through a cow collecting phase, anything with the black and white Friesian print was acceptable. Dad bought a cow for a village. Dad bought me a cow for Christmas. A VERY thoughtful gift voucher.
Christmas gift giving should be about the thought not the monetary value. The hardest gift shopping is when you walk through the stores with no idea of what you will buy, just waiting for the right gift to jump out at you. Although this can be a tiring and frustrating experience for the purchaser it will always be a rewarding for the receiver. This experience far outweighs the challenges of crowded shopping malls and long lines at checkouts.
For unique gift ideas visit www.dftours.com.au/gifts