Friday Rant #11: Giving

2006-12-16 00:00

Alright, I’m somewhat mentally drained from a collection of fun that happened a day-ish ago. (When you’re up for longer than 24 hours, “days” don’t really seem to mean the same thing you thought they did.) Two days ago at the most. In other random news, that Kaboodle site is pretty spiffy. Added a bade (that might not stay there) pointing at a wishlist-type thing. Please feel obligated (or not) to buy me things as your relationship with me would dictate….however…<rantMode>The whole gift-giving holiday thing really isn’t. There are very few people who really think that this holiday season (it’s Christmas, but also New Year’s and various other random year’s end celebrations too. I don’t like the idea of enforcing ‘politically-correct’ speech, but it’s not politically correct, it’s inclusive of other tradition.) is actually about giving gifts. Mostly, consciously or not, people thing the holidays are about exchanging gifts. That’s usually what happens, but a spirit of giving has nothing to do with what you might receive in return. Secret Santa is probably the worst perversion of that, but I digress…I think gift giving holidays, in general, are a bad idea. If you want to give someone a gift, give them a gift. If you don’t have a gift for them, then fine. Once a tradition of giving gifts at a specific interval emerges, not only will spontaneous and meaningful gifts become less and less frequent, but gifts following the tradition will become less and less meaningful also. This is especially true when the tradition usually involves exchanging gifts. (Whether by intent or accident of people giving to each other.) If I were to run the world, I’d propose that gifts for holiday celebration be given when they are purchased and without expectation of reciprocation. You should give a gift, because you want to help someone, you want to make their day better, you want to show your appreciation for their existence in your life…not because you feel like you should. Mandatory ‘donations’ are the same sort of useless as the Christmas gift for a large number of people. The holidays are a time of giving, why not give when you feel like it, throughout the holiday season(s)? It makes more sense to me.Also, in the spirit of giving, there’s a lot of room for ‘incidental’ gifts. Just paying for lunch or a movie ticket, or whatever. Really, I’m much better at that than finding some trinket, do-dad, or whatever for someone. And giving money isn’t much of a gift, unless they really don’t have any. Then it can really be the most meaningful gift received.This seems to be a pretty common sentiment, but nobody really seems to ever talk to all their friends, or group of friends, and actually do anything about it. I would urge you all to do so. Ask for help, when you need it, give when you have plenty, and give with an earnest heart. Don’t expect a return gift. Be delighted if you get one.</rantMode>

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