In one of my favorite stories about BMG's dad, who we lost to cancer earlier this year, Robbie brought his own glass of Scotch to a restaurant. When it was empty he asked our waiter to heat his glass in a microwave for 20 seconds before pouring the Scotch.
My jaw dropped. "It never would have occurred to me to ask for that," I said in amazement.
"Why not?" replied BMG's dad.
"Well, it just wouldn't occur to me to ask for a drink - for anything - in any form other than what is described on a menu or expected in a reasonable situation."
"Oh, you should always ask for exactly what you want. Because you deserve to get exactly what you want. Always."
I had a virtual discussion with a friend today about our different perceptions of gift giving at Christmas. The discussion itself is boring, but the upshot is that, in my personal universe, Christmas offers me the opportunity to give the people in my life exactly what they want. Because they deserve it. I take this very seriously.
I also hate wasting money. So, the idea of spending money - any amount - on a gift that isn't perfect almost hurts me. The higher the price point, the more perfect the gift has to be for th recipient.
As a result of these two factors, it is helpful to me to either have options to consider when choosing what to buy for the people I love. I can certainly develop a list of potential gifts for someone, but I am more satisfied if the list can be informed by a (a) very close relationship, (b) direct conversation with the recipient about what s/he wants, or (c) a list from which to choose.
In the absence of an informed list I feel uninspired. My gift giving is a chore, instead of a joyful opportunity to give someone exactly what they want.
How do you approach gift giving? What makes it joyful for you? When is it a chore?