Home > A wonderful present, but....

A wonderful present, but....

September 13th, 2006 at 01:22 pm

One thing that got overshadowed yesterday by my dog's illness was the package that arrived in the mail from My sister had emailed me a week ago and told me to expect a package from them--a slightly belated birthday present.

For a few years now, my sister and I have settled into a "routine" of birthday and holiday presents. For the holidays, I renew a magazine subscription for her, and for her birthday, she'll usually let me know about one or two items available on that I then order for her for about $40. And my sister will often buy me a decent pair of earrings, since I have pierced ears. The problem has always been to keep it down to just one pair (since she can't abide the thought of buying "cheap jewelery.")

So--the package. I've been talking for a while about wanting an MP3 player, as I've gotten hooked on listening to audio books and my library now offers ebook downloads. For me, it's been a fun kind of thing to dangle in front of myself as I got through my difficult summer without an income--I told myself that I'd buy it after the debts were paid off. Obviously I'd talked of this plan to my sister, since exactly the model I'd decided on was in that package.

It's lovely to have and I'm sure I'll get good use out of it--but I do feel a bit like the wind was taken out of my sails and a bit ambivalent that she's ramped up the spending on gifts a bit. I've checked out the price and she spent $70--a good deal more than our gifts have cost of late. I'm such an ungrateful wretch--worrying more about how much it will cost ME to buy her an equally valuable present the next time gift-giving comes around.

For my sister, giving a gift is to be something personal and symbolizing her caring for the person. I guess I'm miserly but to me presents really represent mostly obligation. Every once in a while I'll delight in buying someone a gift that is "just right"--as when, five years ago, I bought my boyfriend a nice down comforter and duvet set for the holidays because I knew how cold his bedroom gets in the winter and that the comforter would keep him much warmer than the pile of blankets he was using. I guess the problem is that finding such a "just right" gift for my sister will be difficult--and out of my price range if I find it. Her tastes are MUCH more expensive than mine.

5 Responses to “A wonderful present, but....”

  1. kashi Says:

    I struggle with the same thing with some people. My SO tends to buy me very expensive presents, and I'm a lot more moderate. Is there something you could do that would be equally appreciated? As an example, my mom's sister always sends her gifts for birthdays and Christmas, and my mom always sends her sister a big box of homemade goodies (fudge, caramel corn, etc). My aunt pines for that box every year and hoards the contents! Maybe not...but something to think about. I know how you feel.

  2. kashi Says:

    forgot to mention - enjoy that MP3 player!!! I balked when SO bought me one, but now I'm so glad he gave it to me.

  3. princessperky Says:

    It is the thought that counts, and she thought she was doing something very cool for you, and yeah in order to return that kind of thought is HARD even if you have the money to spend......

    I find this especially hard, as I have no memory (I would barely have remembered that you wanted a mp3 player much less the model!) You don't want to know the trouble I had finding the right junk for DHs birthday..though I gave the idea away.....

    But I think the kind of obligation to show love is far more important than one to spend X amount of cash...I also think we need to remember that the 'perfect gift' doesn't come around all that often...we would be lucky to get it right once a year, much less 2 or 5 or 10 (these days gifts are exchanged at the drop of a hat!)

    So IMO, try, but don't be terribly upset if it takes a couple years to return the perfect gift.

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    You could sign up with MyPoints and cash out for gift certificates when you get enough points, then you could "spend" an equal amount of "money" without actually spending money on her gift.

  5. baselle Says:

    I have the same problem, always mentally calculating what gifts cost and trying to "even them out". My thought is to let it go. Enjoy your gift from sister & let her know how much you are enjoying it.

    Remember that much of the pleasure of giving a gift comes in the meaning - when the recipient really uses and enjoys the gift the donor gets a bump. Her pleasure in knowing your pleasure is probably worth $70.

    Enjoy your mp3 player - there are a lot of podcasts, and now there are the amateur books on ipod sites, where ordinary folk read some of their favorite public domain books. I'm thinking that Project Gutenburg might have a few links to those.

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