How Pleasant Are Presents?

Although stressful at times, gift-giving expresses love, care and affection to both the giving and the receiving end.


Graphic via Canva

Despite its intended loving nature, gift-giving culture has gradually become awkward and frustrating. Little things make present shopping so difficult, like the token friend who says “Don’t worry about me. You don’t have to get me anything,” and the overpriced gifts in crowded stores. 

While gift-giving is meant to show a loved one how much you care, sometimes it can gradually transform into forced transactions and extreme pressure, which often results in fear of receiving a present better than the one you are offering. People often try to avoid this by aggressively shopping for someone, but this just leads to unnecessary competition—one that’s extremely draining to both your wallet and emotional well-being.

Sometimes, gift-giving becomes more about the money spent than the actual gift. The expectation to give someone a fancy, expensive gift is common, whereas homemade gifts are usually the sweetest and most meaningful ones—unless they are elementary-school-worthy macaroni art. The joy in homemade gifts oftentimes lies in their simplicity and the effort put into them. They don’t have to be a grand painstaking masterpiece; instead, it could be as simple as something the other person enjoys, such as cookies or jewelry. Rather than buying a random gift last minute, homemade items often take time and effort, making them far more genuine.

Even though most people try to find nice and rosy gifts, some of the best ones are also the hilarious and annoying ones. Sometimes, true care is giving someone an item you know they hate with the passion of a thousand burning suns for the grand purpose of thoroughly sparking rage. Though joke gifts are somewhat spiteful, that is ultimately what the best friendships are; being close enough to make someone laugh and want to strangle you at the same time is a rare feat to achieve. Gag gifts are usually useless, but in the end, some of the most memorable, as they often have inside jokes behind them.

On the contrary, it’s hard to be thoughtful when you don’t know someone well. One of the most awkward scenarios is when an acquaintance gives you a gift, but you have nothing to offer in return, simply because scrounging for a gift for someone you barely know is practically impossible. While this is difficult, if you do manage to find them a gift, it’s quite rewarding to know that you at least returned the favor.

Despite how frustrating and nerve-wracking it can be to find gifts at first, usually it’s worth it in the end. Although gift-giving is an intricate and confusing process, most people are just happy you gave them something and that you thought of them. Gifts are just small tokens of affection, and despite all the pressure to get the perfect one, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes, getting someone a gift is enough in itself to show you care.