What Kind of Gifter Are You?

Thoughtful Presents

I went to get a nice birthday present for my sister-in-law. While thinking of what she might like, I texted her daughter for suggestions. I settled on what I wanted to buy, and I have it on hand to wrap and give to her on her special day.

I know that some people really struggle when it comes to giving gifts. Some people just aren’t too sure about how much money they should spend on people, whilst others just have no idea what to get them. For example, some people might be looking at getting a friend something like this bluetooth speaker under 100, alternatively if they wanted to get a more personalized gift they might get a personalized bobblehead that’s a little cheaper, no matter what gift it is, they might not know if it’s what the friend would like, or if they should spend more money on them. A lot of people just find it easier to go to their local florist when they are getting people gifts. Now there is nothing wrong with flowers, so if you want to get a person flowers then go for it.

How much do you spend on gift giving per year? My guess is that if you are male, you can give me an exact amount on how much you spent this past year and who the recipients were. If you are female, my guess is that you spent so much on so many recipients, that you have no clue what the total amount is that you spent.

For men, it’s usually an obligatory gift or two for the necessary birthday of a loved one, anniversary, or holiday gift for a family member. But women do a lot of gift-giving “just because.” We tend to give gifts to our friends and family on their birthdays, when they’re down, when they’re celebrating, when we’re thinking of them, and when there are holidays.

But we’re not supposed to be concerned with the amount of money spent on gifts received. We’re supposed to be grateful for the thought one took in the gift giving.

I find that there are four types of gift givers.

  • The “let me find something fast because tonight is the event” gift giver. This one is self-explanatory. Most men seem to fit this category.
  • The “let me spend some time finding just the perfect thing for that special someone” gift giver. This one is usually a female. It involves some true searching and sometimes even something the giver makes for the recipient.
  • The, “oh that reminds of Jane Doe” gift giver. This too is usually a female who sees something that reminds her of someone and buys it for them because they know the person will like it.
  • The “regifter-” again usually a female. This category does not always involve a previously received gift. It can also include something the giver found on sale and bought just to have in the house when she needs to give a gift. At minimum, the “regifter” has at least one shelf in her house devoted to gifts on-the-ready. Some devote entire closets for their stash.

For the “let me find something fast because tonight is the event” gift giver, even though he waited until the last possible minute and bought something to keep himself out of the doghouse, he still did it because he cared enough about his recipient that he went out of his way to make sure he didn’t show up empty handed.

My husband usually fits into this category. Although I would jump over the moon if I ever found out he actually planned something ahead for me, I am still appreciative of the time he bought last minute tickets to a concert for our anniversary. He came home with them and surprised me.

I love surprises!

I didn’t know where we were going or who we were seeing until we got there. It ended up being a concert he knew I would adore. Even though it was a last second gift, I loved it, and I love him for thinking enough of me to get the tickets.

The “let me spend some time finding just the perfect thing for that special someone” gift giver, and the “oh that reminds me of Jane Doe” gift giver, we are always grateful to someone who was thinking of us and cared enough to do something nice for us. We usually don’t care if it’s a $3 card, a $10 coffee mug, or a $100 item. We’re usually happy with the thought, and it does really count.

One of the very best gifts I ever received came to me at a cost to the giver of a few sheets of paper and a pen. It was a wedding gift from a friend who had no money to spend on a gift for us. He wrote a long letter to us reminiscing about wonderful times we’d had together, how much we meant to him, and how much fortune he wished upon us for the future. I’ve been married for thirty-two years. I still have and treasure that letter.

Ms. “regifter,” however, well she’s another story. She treats all gifts as an obligation-never as a pleasure to share with someone she cares about. She thinks no one knows she’s a regifter, and she revels in the thought of how much money she saved on any given gift. I clearly admit, that I’ve received gifts that weren’t for me, and I’ve passed them on as gifts to others; however, they were regifted to someone I truly thought would enjoy them. When I always receive a gift, from the same person, that makes no sense, is cheap, used, or broken, I know it’s from my regifter relative, without even reading the card. Yes, I know, I’m being a selfish, first world, baby about this, but honestly, I’d rather she sent a nice card containing a personal sentimental note, than a child’s sized necklace I can never wear, or a used candle. Yes, you read that correctly-a used candle. From this person, I’ve also received a black piece of fabric which was later determined to be something to hold while taking photo film out of the cartridge in the dark (and no this wasn’t a gift given twenty years ago when film was still used).

Used Candle
A real gift. Received as pictured here. (Ok, it wasn’t actually lit at the time of receipt.)

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have the nerve to regift any of these. I usually can’t even donate them anywhere. Honestly, I’d rather she give the three bucks she spent on the gift to a homeless person. At least they can find something useful to do with it.

Ok, now you’ve seen me at my worst. Shame on me. If I were a good person, I would find a little girl to give the necklace to, put the used candle with the flashlights to save for the next power outage, and sew that black piece of fabric into a designer pillow with hand stitched embroidery in the colors of my best friend’s living room.

I’m obviously NOT a good person. I do; however, recommend you get on my gift giving list. You won’t regret it!

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4 thoughts on “What Kind of Gifter Are You?”

  1. I give a lot of gift cards, especially to relatives who live far away. It saves me a trip to the post office, and it gives them a chance to choose something they like.

    I confess that I also have a stash of potential gifts in my closet! In my defense, though, none of these are second-hand gifts. I never regift something that someone else gave to me. And I do take some time and thought in choosing something out of my stash to give to a friend. If there is nothing in the stash that is appropriate, I will buy something else.

    Sometimes I make my own cards, on my computer, usually using a picture of my cat.

    What category does this put me in?

  2. First, let me say: Roz, you are truly the perfect gift giver! You crack me up! Second Leslie, what about the person who says, “you know what you want. Can’t you just get it?” I’ve had those people give gifts before. I like gift cards. Give everyone a bit of freedom and rescue from the exchange game.

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