My friends and I sometimes joke about the men in our lives and how they measure on the present scale.  You know, for a holiday do they get you a power tool that is something they actually want, do they forget altogether, do they get something that makes no sense, do they do a ‘Hail Mary’ and tell you something they go you before was meant for this holiday or hand you something you know they just grabbed in desperation, or do they give you things that are surprising and wonderful.  Or just surprising.  Or do they compromise and get you something that you asked for.  Do you have to make a list.  Etc, etc, etc.

It’s no more fair than men talking about women being poor drivers.  It’s sexist and a generalization and only somewhat true some of the time.  However, it is something we do talk about and when it isn’t aggravating in the moment, it’s pretty funny.  But I also have female friends that admit they are bad at the “present thing”.  They don’t know what to get someone in any situation, not just the ‘socially I have to bring something to this event, what the heck should that be’ kinda thing.  I’m sure we’ve all experienced that at one time or another.  You get a gift that you either don’t know what it is or you don’t know why in the world someone would give it to you.  *sigh*  Hence the gift receipt and the popularity of gift cards.

And not everyone is going to be a officianado at gift giving.  Just like not everyone is going to be a famous tenor or drive race cars professionally.  But most people can at least produce a modicum of sound that resembles singing and a good deal of people know how to drive (safely or not).  So here’s something that I have found produces adequate to somewhat amazing results when dealing with the present thing.  Pay attention to the person receiving the gift.  Not at the time you’re giving it, but before that.  Pay attention to the things they like and they don’t like.  What do they do when they are actually doing something for themselves?  What do they collect?  What do they sigh over when they are out shopping or on Amazon or surfing the web?

Everything they do should point towards things that they like.  Listen to what they say when they are talking. I know revolutionary, but it’s true.  People do actually talk about the things they like or want or aspire towards.  Once you start listening, gifts start making themselves known to your brain. Seriously.  The ideas will start showing up. And don’t throw any ideas away because they seem too plain or not special enough.  The thing about gift giving is that it isn’t about what you want or what you think they should have or should like, but it’s about the other person.  And what is plain to you might be amazingly special to them.  And you know what the best part of the gift will be?  That you paid attention to them enough to know what to give them. Best holiday gift EVER.

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