Dec 31, 2009

The grand Gift Card Exchange

Every single year, people insist on doing the whole Secret Santa thing. Great, fun times. The thing to remember is that you might not know people from your work as well as you think and to remedy the atrocious gifts some people have received, there has been a growing tendency amongst all industries to jot down a list with what you’re interested in receiving. Combine this with a $20-$30 price limit and you got yourself a good thing right? Well not quite.

When the whole Secret Santa thing goes underway, what you’re pretty much setting up to at least a third of your group is a fancy exchange of gift cards. Some sappy things are said about the person in question, the token gift card is handed to a meager applause and everyone loses about 30 minutes of time in an activity that really goes against the purposes of the dynamic.

Here’s the thing. I actually do enjoy getting and giving good gifts and this year I have someone two figurines which truly echo her personality, I went a little over the pre-established budget and also printed a short story I made in memory of my dad. I knew this person and I was enthused and then some to get her as my secret gift person thingamajig. This person had insisted on receiving another gift card to add to her collection and consider it pushy or not, I didn’t want to be a part of that. It’s like a six word Facebook Wall post versus a well thought of message; I’m almost always going for the message. For my part, I received a gift card which was kind of hohum since I put my Amazon wishlist and the person could have actually saved money by picking out one or even two items, but I got the gift card, and there’s only one reason why I didn’t mind. It’s because she’s the newest member of the group, has been here less than two months and she still has stage fright.

But for other people who have been working a little longer, it’s a bit shocking to see the lame gift card exchange, even if it’s from the store they want because even though it’s convenient, it’s as impersonal as a Secret Santa gift can get. Heck, even cash is better than a gift card, simply because it’s cash and not a gift card and it doesn’t have an expiration date.

The sad part is when this same dynamic translates into a family scenario and you can’t help but ask yourself if you wouldn’t be better off taking a trip and “not being able to make it”. Regardless though, Santa was a sweet red velvety mofo with me this year and I truly can’t ask for more. Here’s hoping you got good stuff from the jolly albeit obese milk and cookie monster.

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