Who hasn’t received or given a gift at one time or the other? A gift is an expression of love and care and serves as the reinforcement of the same. Exchange of gifts grabs a vital slice in the pie chart of social niceties. At times formal gifting becomes a burden as I’ve heard people with a wide social circle comment wryly that they earmark a princely sum each month for gifts.
Perhaps as a result of such comments, it is seen that phrases like ‘your presence is a present’, ‘presents in blessings only’, and so on are printed on the invite itself. This can be taken at the word or not, with the hosts vehemently refusing the gift or graciously accepting it when forced upon. The husband and I discreetly carry an envelope and on observing the trend, either part hands with it or bring it back with us.
What to give and how much to give is the question troubling all and sundry. Some are votaries of giving as per the budget of the giver whereas others argue the gift should match the status of the recipient.
The Lord that He is, Shri Krishna accepted with great pleasure the morsels of parched rice given hesitantly by his close buddy Sudama, and blessed him multifold. But we are unlikely to find such munificence of thought amongst mortals. Some gifts are kept aside for ‘recycling’ if they do not match the recipient’s taste. Funnily sometimes the poor gift is recycled so much that it may come back unwittingly to the first donor! Yet another moment of silent torment is when the donor finds the gift given to a certain person at another's place, yes, having been recycled.
Individuals vary in behaviour upon receiving gifts. A friend had torn her hair searching for an appropriate gift for a relative, burning a hole in her purse in the process only to find the recipient coolly remarking, “It is the thought that matters, not the gift!” which left her tongue tied indeed! She was left pondering as to what that person meant. Any guesses?
Yet another oddity in people—who seem followers of the ‘eye for an eye’ maxim—is rushing with return gifts similar in type and value. Do they pause to reflect that they may be snatching away the contentment of the person who had happily given the gift? As important gifting is, equally important is the gracious acceptance and acknowledgement, which soothes the heart of the gift-giver. It forms the greatest return gift indeed!
Sometimes, a person of small means manages a generous gift which proves what matters is a large heart, not a fat wallet. Nowadays with online retailers, it is gifting season all year around. So go ahead and indulge your loved one with a gift!