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3 Day Quote Challenge: Really, why do we give gifts? :)

The lovely Jeannie from Ultimate Librophile blog has nominated me to come up with three “inspirational” quotes, as part of the  “3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge”. Thank you Jeannie – Here’s my Day One.

As my blog’s sole purpose is “Making Gifts Better”, I’m going to attempt to outsource cool gift-related quotes and have a little discussion with myself about it. Sounds like a plan? 🙂

The full quote is quite lengthy, but try saying it with Sheldon’s voiceover in your head (it helps):

“You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? I know you think you’re being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven’t given me a gift, you’ve given me an obligation. The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you’ve given me. Ah, it’s no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year. Oh, I brought this on myself by being such an endearing and important part of your life…”

Oh my, good old Sheldon, you are always right and wrong in the most mesmerising way! There are indeed times when we feel obliged to give presents and meticulously calculate how much we should spend on a gift to fulfil an obligation. Example? Plenty – my favourite one at the moment is wedding gifts. It’s simply hilarious how people try to figure out the value of the gift based on…

a) Is it a relative, a friend or a colleague (descending value, unless you are after a promotion!)

b) Where is the wedding? How much did the bride and groom spend on food and entertainment (which apparently should at least be matched… hmm)

c) Have they attended my wedding or am I going to invite them to mine (in which case you try just a wee bit harder,  as you want a nice gift in return)

Is it just me or this is way too complicated/cynical/stressful?

I realise that there are times in our lives when we are “forced” to give gifts, and that’s just one of those unfortunate customs that keeps our society “politely friendly”, but as a dreamer I do hope that these occasions will become less and less frequent.

Just think about this for a moment – do you really want a gift that you know only carries monetary value? I’d trade one such gift, however lush, for a stranger’s smile on a rainy day, hands down.

I’d say there are two equaly great ways of dealing with it – either stop pretending all together (recommended for the brave ones out there, aka “Sheldons”) or try and find some genuine amusement even in the most hopeless “obligatory gift” cases (I do this all the time – make it fun, noone forces you to choose a particular item, be creative and enjoy the process).

Do you agree with Sheldon?

Stay tuned x


  1. A beautiful quote to start it off with! I also feel that we put a lot of effort and thought into the gifts we give others…for the wrong reasons.

    My solution to the entire thing is this:
    1) When I give a gift, I do not write my name on it. That way, its an expression of my love towards the person without the credit. I simply want the receiver to feel that they are loved.
    2) Whenever I invite someone over for an event, like a birthday party, where it is customary to bring gifts, the invitation always says, “Gifts in the form of blessings only.” This relieves anyone of any feeling of obligation.

    All the best for your Challenge!

    • Your first point is truly beautiful – we often rely on gratitude to put value on our gifts, which is wrong. This is a very thoughtful and spiritual way of giving gifts, thank you for sharing your wisdom x

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