As I get older, I’m noticing that there’s more occasions to buy a gift for – not a week goes by without having to get something for someone for some reason. I guess this is just a consequence of being an adult and a parent. There’s the usual birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries, but I’ve also reached that part of my life where friends are having babies. This results in all manner of gifts from pregnancy announcements to baby showers to push presents to christenings to birthdays. In summary, that’s a hell of a lot of gifts.
I’ll be honest. I don’t like buying presents. The desire to treat my loved ones is there, but I lack the inspiration, determination and execution to find that ideal gift. I don’t wish to wield the excuses, but it can be tough buying different things for the same people. Just consider how many presents I’ve bought for those that have always been in my life – assuming I’ve bought my mum something for Mother’s Day, her birthday and Christmas every year since I was twelve, that’s sixty odd gifts I’ve had to source. And Santa reckons he has it hard.
Presents are pretty cool though. Not much beats the excitement of opening a surprise parcel on the morning of your birthday or Christmas – I still feel like a kid when I think back to the time I got the Star Wars Ewok village playset. Although, arguably, watching someone else unwrap a present is as equally exciting. How else can you explain the hype that surrounds kid’s unboxing toys or shopping hauls on YouTube?! What has the world come to…?
I do get it though. Since Toddler L popped into the world, I enjoy trying to look at the world through her eyes. Having a kid certainly changes your perspective – I don’t quite get as excited as her when we see a plane or hear a clock chime, but it’s nice watching her reaction to stuff. Now that she’s that bit older, this includes the excitement of when she sees a present and opens it up to reveal what’s inside.
She’s still a bit young to understand the concept of a birthday, but she certainly understands the word “present” and what to do with one. I guess this comes down to the prolonged practice she’s had. Despite her 2nd birthday being over a month ago, the belated presents just keep on coming when we catch up with friends we’ve not seen in a while. Seeing her eyes light up, the unpractised “oooooo” and the subsequent delight at playing with the present trumps anything I can be bought these days. OK, maybe not a Porsche, hint hint.
Talking about gifts, I was recently asked by the kid’s present experts over at Gift Wink to get involved in their #GiftCrimes campaign. This included sharing some of the funny gift crimes that I’ve caused – or been subjected to – in the past, as well as details about an awesome competition where you could win a £50 wishlist of stuff for your kid. More details of the latter at the end of this post.
In terms of gift crimes – a present so bad that it could qualify as a crime – I’ve been pretty lucky not to really experience any of these. Or, at least I can’t remember them. On the whole, my folks, brother and missus are very thoughtful and tend to know what I like. That doesn’t mean that they’ve always got it right, but a collective 98% strike rate is pretty good for 31 years of present receiving. I’m sure I’ve committed plenty of gift crimes in the past, but no-one has blatantly told me that I’ve offended so I continue to live in a world of obliviousness.
However, I do have plenty of funny stories to share which surround presents. These may not be as bad as the time that my dad did the weekly supermarket shop and bought my mum a big bag of floating candles “because they were on offer”, but they certainly are light-hearted and amusing memories when I think back to them. Here’s three of my favourite gift-related anecdotes:
The missus – who at the time was just the girlfriend – had been on holiday to Florida with a friend. Being the thoughtful person she is, Hay came back with a present for me. I opened it up and found a metal box filled with Kinder chocolate. The conversation went something like this:
Hay: “No probs. Do you like it?”
Me: “Yeah, cheers.”
Hay: “Ah ok. I just thought you’d be more excited.”
Me: “Sorry, it’s cool. But why did you think I’d be more excited?”
Hay: “Because it’s your favourite…isn’t it?”
Me: “Erm…no…I don’t think I’ve had it before.”
Hay: “Oh! Who am I thinking of then?!”
I’d just like to highlight at this point that we’d already been together for over three years. I hate to sound ungrateful, but she’d never seen me eat Kinder chocolate before and I doubt that my (non-existent) love for it would have ever come up in conversation. She still can’t explain to this day where the idea that I liked it so much came from. To be polite, I obviously ate it all pretty quickly.
When I think back to my childhood, this is still one of my most vivid memories – maybe because it scarred me so much. When it came to Christmases and birthdays, my brother and I would buy each other a token gift. Nothing big, just a little something. One year though, that all changed.
I’d forgotten that I’d already bought him a present and ended up doing the unthinkable – I bought him a second present! It then became a running joke that he owed me a gift. Whenever it was a birthday or Christmas and I needed to get him a present, I’d always make some ‘hilarious’ reference to ‘giftgate’ and how I wasn’t going to bother getting him something this time in order to restore the balance.
You’d think I’d have grown up and left this back in my teenage years. Wrong! I don’t wield it as often as I used to, but the attempted guilt-trip still makes an appearance every now and then.
We all have to grow up. It’s a fact of live. We may not want to, but our situations change which then has impacts on other things. The fact that we get old really hit home one Christmas when there was a definite ‘you’re now an adult, Dave’ theme to my presents.
I think it must have been when I’d graduated – 2007 ish – and had moved into my first rented flat in London. I remember getting a number of presents from my folks which I opened with enthusiasm and excitement which would rival Toddler L. What I discovered wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
In front of me, I had a 5-piece non-stick pan set, a wooden spice rack and a set of kitchen knives. I obviously made the most of it and had fun ‘playing’ with them on Christmas day – even if it did nearly result in cutting my own thumb off. Although I appreciated the practical and functional nature of the gifts, it wasn’t quite the same as the year I got my WWF wresting ring and figures.
Gift Wink #GiftCrimes Competition
So those are three of the funny gift crimes that have happened to me over the years. Now it’s your turn – do you have any funny stories about presents you may have given or received? If so, you could win a £50 wishlist at Gift Wink to ensure that you don’t commit any future gift crimes. To enter, just share your funniest gift crime story on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #GiftCrimes. Full details and terms & condition are here.
Even though gift crimes make funny stories, Gift Wink is an easy tool that allows anyone to buy the perfect gift – don’t be a gift criminal, people!
N.B. This is a collaborative post written with Gift Wink.