The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Posted by mwallach on February 1, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

Gift giving can be very challenging. Finding the right gift for the right person on the right occasion – I am stressed just thinking about it. When you hit the nail on the head, however, and the present is perfect, the appreciation you receive in return makes the effort worth while.

A close friend of mine recently turned 35 and I was determined to not let his birthday go by without it being acknowledged.  Some people who know him think he is quiet and some have even called him shy, but I know better and he is neither. He is funny, sarcastic and has zero tolerance for people or things that annoy him – hence the reason we get along so well. More than once he has shut off the TV on the elliptical he was using after noticing that someone next to him was looking at his monitor, too. Getting him the perfect gift was, therefore, easy enough: I bought him ear plugs. The ability to ignore everyone and be alone on the planet, even for the 45 minutes or so that he is exercising, was the best gift I could give him. Needless to say, he loved it. 

There have been two gifts over the years that my husband has given me which have been my absolute favorites. For my 25th birthday, I received a piece of art by an artist whom I adore. I was completely surprised by the gift and enjoy it to this day.  The other was a Kiddush cup that he bought for me to use at the sedarim on Pesach. It is called a ‘Miriam Cup’ and has the pasuk from the Torah which discusses how Miriam, drum in her hand, led the women into the sea as the Jews were being freed from Egypt. It is very special not just because it is from him, but because the gift was not centered around an event or day. It was not my birthday and it was not our anniversary. It was just something he saw that he wanted me to have and knew I would like, and he was right.

Not every gift is a winner, however, and not every product on the market has giftability – meaning, you may be able to buy it for yourself, but you cannot necessarily buy it for someone else, no matter what the commercial says.  Take the ten piece grooming set I recently saw advertised on an infomercial that caught my eye as I was flipping through channels. (There isn’t too much to watch at 5:30 am on a Sunday. Cut me some slack.)

This handy dandy groomer, complete with nail clipper and a nose/ear hair trimmer, was said to be the perfect gift for the man in your life. I am not sure about you, but I cannot imagine any man in my life for whom this gift is appropriate. It is the equivalent of buying your wife a Weight Watchers membership or a gift certificate for a tummy tuck.  No matter how much she says she wants one, it will not go over well if you buy it for her.   If she buys it, it says she is taking care of her body and making the changes she wants for herself.  If you buy it for her, it says she is fat and she is ugly.  Well, maybe not both, but definitely fat. 

A contraption equipped with a nose hair trimmer, a nail clipper and a razor cannot be the gift that anyone has been waiting for his entire life. If he buys it for himself, it says he is taking care of his body and taking pride in his appearance.If you buy it for him, it says the ‘Fab 5’ are no longer on the air, you are a hairy beast and you need a makeover.  Well, maybe not all three, but definitely a hairy beast.

Here’s a life lesson: when in doubt, don’t. If you are not sure what gift to get someone, buy a Hallmark card and some scratch off lottery tickets. The card is recyclable, the tickets may actually win some money and scratching them off can be a lot of fun. And who knows, maybe they’ll use their winnings for a nose hair trimmer. Wouldn’t that be a win-win?


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