I’m not a big fan of gifts. I don’t especially like giving them, and I REALLY don’t like receiving them. If I want something, I get it for myself. If it’s not something I’d buy for myself, then I don’t need it. There are a few gift-giving people in my circle, and when I’ve brought up this “I don’t like gifts” thing, a number of people have pointed out that it would be rude to not accept a gift from someone who likes giving gifts. If it’s someone who doesn’t know me well, I might go along with that, but what if it’s someone who knows I don’t like getting gifts but buys them for me anyhow? If it would be rude of me to refuse a gift (with a polite “no thank you”), is it not equally rude of the gift giver who knows I don’t like getting gifts to insist upon getting gifts for me?

It can also depend upon the nature of the gift. I enjoy unique chocolate, and there are a few people who will at times pick up an uncommon chocolate bar for me while travelling. These personal gifts of very limited monetary value are relatively easy for me to accept; they’re consumable, inexpensive, and represent a genuine personal connection between giver and recipient. That’s a nice and appropriate gift. Anything that I wouldn’t buy for myself that’s given as a gift, especially if I wouldn’t buy it for myself because it’s too expensive, makes me extremely uncomfortable. There’s no specific value on “too expensive”… sometimes a $5 item is too expensive, sometimes a $10 item is cheap, it all depends upon the item.

I’m talking in circles a little bit here. I’m really just trying to work my way through a situation that presented itself earlier today. Someone gave me a gift certificate. That’s like handing me money. If getting a gift makes me uncomfortable, getting money makes my skin crawl. I didn’t say anything when this gift certificate was dropped on my desk, but I think tomorrow I will return the gift certificate to the giver. That will probably be viewed as an insult, but I’ve told this habitual gift-giver a number of times that I do not like to receive gifts. The giver continues to give. That makes the givers actions rude and perhaps even a little aggressively rude. Tomorrow will be an interesting day.