A Gift From The Heart, Seriously

Father’s Day was a lot of fun (as was my niece’s first birthday party), but it drew my attention to something. As adults, we at least attempt to buy gifts for people based on their interests, whereas as kids, we were all too happy to give a G.I. Joe action figure for Mother’s Day — with the suggestion that if Mom didn’t like it, we knew someone who would be happy to take it off her hands. But I’m discovering that even now, our gift-buying choices are still largely driven by our own spheres of experience.

For example, Pam bought me several books for Father’s Day, while I picked up the Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid DVD for my own father. Now, in both cases, the gifts were certainly appropriate — the books were all ones I’d like to read, and my dad does love classic westerns. But it’s no shock that Pam (a librarian) and I (a movie nut) picked out the gifts we did. In the end, it’s probably easier to narrow down the possible gifts to something with which you’re at least moderately familiar, so as not to err in well-intentioned ignorance (“Gee, honey, you got me a Windows upgrade — on floppy disc, no less...”). But it does provide a little window into the gift-giver’s psyche.

My parents frequently gave cash. I wonder what that says...

Actually, it was usually a check. I suppose somewhere, subconsciously, they’d be thinking that while I’m at the bank cashing it, some particularly zealous bank teller would suggest, “You know, if you put that into a nice CD, you could be earning five-and-a-half percent.” Not that I’ve seen a bank teller in years. Maybe that’s how we could get older Americans more open to adopting technology — build in a little “nag factor.” You go to get cash out of the ATM, the machine says, “What do you need $100 for? Just take $40 — that should be plenty for an evening out with your friends. Or should I be asking your mother what you’re spending all this money on?”

Worth a thought, anyway.


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