"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin


>> Sunday, May 01, 2005

Today we went to a birthday party at Doug's cousin's home. Much of Doug's family lives about 1 1/2 hours north east of us and these parties are held monthly. (We don't go every month.)

Each month the maternal side of his family gathers to celebrate all the birthdays occurring that month. This is a large family; at least 2 birthdays per month. Now, the title of this post is "Gifts" so I am sure you know what comes next. The tradition in his family is for everyone to give a gift to every birthday celebrant. A gift averaging $20.

Now, as you can imagine, this gets expensive. Today was 3 gifts; one for a 1 year old, the other 2 for adults. Usually, for anyone over 15, we purchase gift cards. Because, honestly, what can you get someone for $20 that they really want or need? A CD? Only if you know their musical tastes and know they don't have it. Same for a video game. And I'm not about to buy clothes for another adult. A gift card, although impersonal, always fits.

In my family we don't have traditions like this. When my family gathers it is for holidays; Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.

I don't fully understand the need to give gifts. Especially gifts that are not in the recipient's taste or style. It's not that I don't appreciate the thought, but if I really need or want something I buy it. And if it is expensive I have Doug buy it for me. :)

But I have strayed. Where was I? Ah, yes; the need to give gifts. I'm not sure I get it. Maybe it's because I'm not a person who likes "things". Knick-knacks aren't my style. I prefer to pick out my own art. And my own clothes. And if you can buy me a set of pans for under $20, don't.

I'm not offended by gift cards. Like I said, they always fit. Restuarant, good. Target, good. B&B, very good. This, of course, is not what we receive. BTW, I am not complaining. Really. I only wish there was a way to say, without offending the giver, that, unless you know I want them, please refrain from giving me porcelain bunnies or suede shirts. I would prefer to not receive a gift. Honestly. A card will do nicely, thank you. And if it contains cash, all the better. :)

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