Frances Garrood is a novelist who blogs under the unnervingly original title of Frances Garrood. Her posts can be irritatingly controversial. I say irritatingly because often I want to disagree with them but there may be a theme within them with which I agree. Frances wrote a post last December (which many of my readers may have read): "Gifts". A brief guide.
I quote: "'Gifts' are things that are bought by the desperate for the ungrateful. They are things that you don't need. If you needed them, you would (probably) already have them."
Now the problem is that I fundamentally disagree with the statement whilst, unfortunately, also agreeing that there is an element of truth in it.
I love it that someone has spent the time and effort to give me a present but if they don't then it doesn't put me up nor down. Mind you I seem to be fortunate in that music and books make up many of my gifts and I love those. Some of my friends also have a wonderful knack of giving me things which will mean something intrinsically for as long as I live.
I love giving presents too. On the other hand I loathe having to give presents to order ie for Christmas and birthdays. I love spontaneity. I love seeing something and thinking that would be wonderful for X or knowing someone needs something but perhaps can't justify (or afford) it at that moment when I can. It might be for a birthday. It might not. I would love the freedom to give as and when I felt like it without the need for a specific reason or event requiring me to do so and without feeling guilty that I'd failed to mark a special event with a present (although I always try and remember to send birthday cards) or being looked at oddly when I do buy spontaneously and asked "What is that for?"
On a matter of detail one of the things Frances singled out as a no-no for men was handkerchiefs 'because most men use tissues'. Well I, for one, can't abide tissues unless I have a streaming cold. I use at least two handkerchiefs a day - usually for wiping my eyes which stream a lot if there is any cold air or wind around (and I live in New Zealand and the Hebrides!). The other I keep for emergencies and cleaning my specs. Have you tried to buy 'proper' men's handkerchiefs? It is almost impossible. The things masquerading as handkerchiefs even in M&S are little better than tissues. If anyone bought me proper ones (I can't repeat handkerchiefs again) for any occasion I would be happier than a - very happy person. Try finding them though!
I would also love to know how is it that very polite children brought up to do all the correct things seem to have lost the ability even to say thank you for a present never mind write a letter or send an email or a text or a Facebook message or any one of the other means at their disposal? I stopped sending some children presents because I never even knew if they received them.