Remember tazos? The piece of a toy that came with every packet of Lays chips you bought. I would buy Lays for the tazos. Sometimes, I found two – and on a great day: four! This was my greatest sense of serendipity growing up – finding two or more tazos in my lays. I would buy lays only for the tazos; wouldn’t care for the chips. The best part was the surprise each time you opened the packet of lays. Would it be a 3D tazo or a the fancy shiny one? Would I find the rare one that none of my friends have? AND would there be more than one? The things that ran in my head as I ripped that packet open!
I like gifts. The people I like most in my family are the people who buy me gifts. Somewhere along the way though, things changed. I still like the people, but no one got me gifts I liked – they all got me what they liked.
Hey, isn’t it my birthday? How is it you get to decide what clothes to buy for both your birthday and mine?
But isn’t that ‘thoughtful’? Well, how much thought did you put into buying me a Size S orange shirt? Anyway, that’s rude I suppose, but here’s the point: what’s thoughtful need not be useful. And if it’s not useful – well, it’s useless.
As I write this, I realize I have become my Dad.
My Dad embarrasses us by calling people and asking them what gift they want. That’s not the embarrassing bit. He’ll tell them his ‘budget’ is 1,000 rupees only. (Gosh!!, dad.) He’s not fan of gifts, but he knows who the kind people in the family are. So, before his special days, he will call the givers with his budget and specification (42 size, bottle green color, don’t spend more that 1000 rupees only). I would think Dad robbed the life out of gifts. Damn you surprise killer! Here’s the problem I have with my Dad’s approach: I love it!
I have been a recipient of many gifts. Thanks everyone. While I appreciate the people and their thought, I feel stupid wearing a shirt that shows navel. So I pass on the gift to the deserving – the 9 year old boy. Clothes are still okay, but what do I do about the watch? I don’t wear a watch because it makes me sweaty, distracted, and nauseous. I also can’t give it away now that I googled to see how much it costs and it’s so expensive. Alright, someday it will stop working and I will give it away then. What’s next? A showpiece!!! You could have given me the same beautifully gift-wrapped box with a used, smelly sock in it instead.
But, like the lays packet, I have many things running in my head as i open the gift wrapper: Not art! not showpiece! not the book I already read!…and tadaaa – it’s a photo frame. Say hello to the world’s most thoughtless gift. Let’s put an end to this struggle, shall we.
So, here’s my step by step guide to gift giving, a refined version of my Dad’s approach :(Future gift-givers, take note.)
- Tell me you are looking to buy me a gift and I will say please don’t bother.
- You insist.
- You say I should give you the pleasure of buying me a gift.
- So, I throw you subtle hints like: have you read this book called __ – also, I read on my kindle. I think my earphones just stopped working, hold on. It’s hard to find good perfume to bear the stench of the world.
- Nothing about the budget, but there’s enough range in those gifts.
- If that’s confusing, here’s the best answer to photo-frames: Amazon gift voucher. Please note: NOT lifestyle.
- Send me one of the things I asked for (an amazon voucher please). .
- I will act surprised and say, HOW DID YOU KNOW?
- I will send you a picture of what I bought with the voucher.And, perhaps you can frame that in one of those photo-frames.
Yes, I robbed the life out of gifts too. But hey, would you rather we I be insensitive and sell it on ebay? I still love gifts. But, opening gifts for the last couple of years has been like opening the packet of lays and finding no tazo.