High Expectations from Gift Giving

Birthdays is one of those weird days that we have to deal with, arn’t they? There are some who absolutely love birthdays whether it’s their own or not. Others, not so much. It’s not a thing that I’ve ever been into as there is so much intention, meaning and expectation that rests heavily on the concept of what a birthday should be. Even from the most simple of birthday greetings to finding the right birthday present for someone it’s the act of gift giving for the day that a person came into this world kicking, screaming and crying as a brand new life. That’s some heady expectation of celebration, man.

It’s why I’ve always tried to not make a big deal out of my own birthday. I love being alive! I’m thankful that I am but to expect gifts for something that is most likely nothing but happenstance on the part of my parents seems a strange thing to me. Giving gifts to other people is different, though. What I enjoy is being able to give something to someone who doesn’t expect gifts. Better yet when they’re so completely awkward about receiving a gift that they don’t know how to respond to it – that’s always fun.

It must be a western thing. Gift giving in general is awkward. Especially here in the United States due to the amount of expectation that we have from a gift. For most of us it can feel as if we must find the right present. The present has to convey an entire series of emotions in order for it to be seen as a decent gift. It has to tell that person that we have been paying attention to them, that we know them well enough to be able to pick out a present that has some meaningful association to their likes, interests and wants. It’s a lot to expect.