Shopping for ‘the perfect gift’ isn’t a realistic expectation to put on ourselves, according to Mirror columnist Mike Davies. Photo by stockcreations/dreamstime.com

MIKE’S MUSINGS: The unreasonable pressure of ‘the perfect gift’

Why are we trying to “win” everyone’s Christmas?

Seems to me I’ve written about Christmas shopping before in this space.

It was probably something like “trying to talk myself into starting my Christmas shopping earlier next year,” or, “don’t forget to pitch in on community-based initiatives like Angel Tree while you’re getting your shopping done.”

While those are certainly worthwhile ideas to explore in a column, this time I’m going to work through my thoughts on gift giving itself, because it’s been on my mind. (See? I’m starting earlier this year!)

Let’s start with how we decide on what to give someone for Christmas.

I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find “the perfect gift” for a loved one, and I’m not sure that’s healthy.

I mean, everyone wants to give a gift that the recipient will appreciate, but is there some kind of deep-rooted desire to “win Christmas” for some reason that makes us want to get everyone their favourite gift of the year?

Shouldn’t the act of giving be more altruistic than that?

Well, I’m not convinced ethical altruism even exists, technically, but that’s a discussion for another time, probably.

In any case, it feels, somehow, like it’s just not quite good enough to give someone something they’ll like, doesn’t it?

It’s gotta be exactly right.

But is that a realistic expectation to place on ourselves?

Of course not.

I was having the annual conversation with my wife the other day about our plans for Christmas gifts this year in terms of all the cousins and nieces and in-laws and what-have-yous, and we got to the point where it was actually suggested that maybe everyone just gets a gift card this year.

“BLASPHEMY,” was my immediate first thought. I’ve always been fairly anti-gift-card when it came to Christmas and birthday gifts. I think it’s because it felt like I would be proclaiming that I was too lazy or didn’t care enough about the person to actually consider what they would like to receive and then go find it. It always felt like a cop-out.

But then I took a moment to look at it a bit differently.

If our goal it to get someone we love something they actually want, is there anything inherently what’s wrong with just letting them pick it out? I mean, we force our kids to create a wish list – many of us do it for others in the family, as well – and a gift card is really only taking that idea one step further. I mean, if you’re going to pick your gift from the list of requests provided, you’ve basically already said, “go pick something out and I’ll pay for it,” so what’s wrong with cutting out the middle man?

I don’t know. I’m still not fully on-board with the gift card thing, but I can’t call myself totally against it anymore, I don’t think.

I do know, however, that I’m going to try to stop putting so much pressure on myself in choosing gifts for people.

After all, it’s supposed to feel good to give something to someone you care about, not leave you wondering if you did good enough.

Just know that if you get a gift card from me this year, it’s not a choice I made lightly. I honestly thought you’d appreciate it more than the many other things I considered before that.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
B.C. forestry companies agree to abide by cedar protocols drafted by Indigenous council

Western Forest Products and Interfor Corporation among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Hama?Elas Community Kitchen progress shared

Strategic planning, progress made on various projects also discussed at CRDCEH meeting

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

(Black Press file photo)
One dead after single-vehicle accident in Campbell River yesterday

‘…we are hoping for a full recovery for both passengers,’ says RCMP

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has expressed his frustration with harassment of people who have made racist comments online about Cowichan Tribes in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the First Nation. (Citizen file)
Island mayor calls for de-escalation as social media gets uglier in racism fight

“Racism is wrong. But so is this kind of reaction”:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Most Read