Business relationships

Gift giving: a selfless elf or last minute Dasher?

- December 2, 2007 < 1 MIN READ

Peter’s piece on corporate gift ideas for clients certainly got you stirred up, with opinions ranging from ‘it’s a brilliant idea’ to ‘it encourages mindless consumerism’.

While the necessity of gifts for clients is debatable, I reckon we feel a stronger sense of obligation to get something for family and friends.

We go about gift buying for loved ones in different ways.

For many, endless thought is put into Christmas gift giving. My friend Faye has a present book for recording ideas, a present box that is added to throughout the year and buys her Christmas loo roll (I’m serious) in October.

Then there’s my mate Dave who leaves present buying til Christmas Eve and spends a fortune as a result. He calls it “buying my way out of trouble” but admits the result is ultimately expensive and unsatisfying, with his wife joining the Boxing Day queue at DJ’s exchange counter more often than not.

My siblings and I have a longstanding gift giving amnesty, preferring instead to exchange birthday presents.

My favourite is the Secret Santa model, where one person is responsible for another family member’s ‘main’ gift and limited to spending a maximum of $20 on everyone else.

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Putting a limit on festive spending forces our imaginations to kick in. I’m not saying expensive gifts can’t be thoughtful, but cheap ones have to be.

Last year my favourite gift was also the least expensive – unscented shower gel to which my aromatherapist friend had added essential oils which “remind me of you.”

A well-thought out, cheap present is way preferable to an extravagant but meaningless one.

What way of gift giving works for you? Add a comment to let us know.