As part of my current obsession with evaluating my true likes and dislikes (latest realization: I don't like swimming, donuts), I've started to reassess the pleasure I derive from receiving gifts. Growing up, I would hear my ass-kissing peers say things like, "Giving presents is just as fun as receiving them!" and mentally sneer, knowing that it probably meant their parents were giving them educational video games or make-a-dreamweaver arts and crafts kits.
Suddenly, however, I buy it (metaphorically and literally). Giving gifts really is better; it may be because I'm picky, or because there's too much emotional pressure to convey gratitude without causing awkwardness, or, to get all Marxist, because I've come to a point where I recognize the greater worth of maximizing social relations.
It also might be that, the older you get, the less people care about giving you good stuff. Over the years, I presented my parents with some real crapola: mugs/t-shirts that declared them the "World's Best ___," handmade drawings, books of coupons for "ONE CAR WASH" or "48 HUGS!" But I always bought into their expressions of delight, their promises to save them forever.
This evening, before heading out into the cold night, I went into my parents' closet to look for a scarf:
Suddenly, I came across this very special pillow that my brother and I made for them, with a photograph of us and Grandma! LYING IN THE BOTTOM OF THE CLOSET.
Is that a YALE MOM hat sitting in the corner, never worn?!!!
Are those the Monopoly-themed pajama pants I bought for my dad one Christmas??!
And, finally, I was especially shocked/dismayed to learn that my mother had not been wearing this faux-velvet, plush crown, clearly intended for the world's best mom to declare, "I Rule!" (see front of hat).
Yes, I'm aware that I look like the guy from A Clockwork Orange in this picture.