The feeling of a failed gift

Madeline Powers, Copy Editor

Giving gifts exist as a way to show appreciation for someone else’s time, effort, or thoughtfulness. Unfortunately, personal funds can fall short of the needed amount for a desired gift. For example, mothers and fathers deserve the world in the eyes of their children, but the kids might not possess the means to give them such. Fortunately, parents inherently understand that a simple gift means just as much, but that does not stop the feeling of disappointment within oneself. 

A gut-aching feeling consumes me on birthdays or holidays like Christmas and Mother’s/Father’s day because I feel I am unable to show my gratitude appropriately. The most meaningful presents do not cost anything, despite the same gut-aching feeling when someone out-gifts another: an expensive iPhone vs a homemade card or self-care package, or a full trip to New York vs a photo album. These thoughts encompass my brain as I try to raise enough money for that signed football or the specialty pin way out of reach. 

How can someone feel accomplished with a gift? How can someone spend little and provide the same meaning behind a present? Money cannot replace time’s value. 

Instead of spending money, I learned to create a day of time to spend with that other person. For example, my dad’s Christmas present this year will include a trip to a tiny park I found in Atlanta, full of Deadheads (Grateful Dead fans) and musicians. The ‘little things’ and/or the experiences matter more than material objects because an object bought places a value on love, and this idea fills children’s minds as they try to show their love and appreciation. This Christmas, give the gift of experience. A day with a loved one means more because you take time to develop a plan, and take time out of your busy schedule to show how much love he or she contains for the other person, while also growing this relationship tremendously. 

A concert

Find a local concert for a band, any band, that you do not know. You share a new experience with someone listening to music you may or may not love. It will create future conversations about how terrible they played, or it will create a memory that you want to keep creating. 

“Open When” letters

Create a series of letters to help someone through a separation or to offer kind thoughts when someone might need it most. Some examples include, “Open when I leave for college,” “Open when I graduate,”  or “Open when you are down.” These letters range across any situation, and will continually show the other person how much you care for them and grow your relationship with them, despite the separation. 

An adventure

Go on an adventure with someone. Hop in the car and drive without a destination and see where it leads you. It could lead you to a McDonald’s or a strange-looking nature preserve that you explore. This can come naturally with someone you can talk for hours with, or someone with a free spirit, for even if you never find a destination, you still jam out to songs in the car or talk for hours about irrelevant or deep concepts and ideas. In my opinion, this exists as the best way to get to know someone completely. 

The growth you want to receive from giving a said gift can impact a relationship more than buying an object. Love contains no limits, so explore how far you can know and love that person.