Airing of Grievances: Gift Giving


Emilie Eliopoulos | Staff Artist

As the holiday season approaches with terrifying speed, the presence of presents weighs heavily on my mind. I’m no Grinch, so I know that there are many reasons for the season that do not come wrapped in a huge red bow. That knowledge, however, does little to assuage my impending GGA (that’s Gift-Giving Anxiety, for the uninitiated).

It seems innocent enough. A Secret Santa set up among friends or a gift exchange with your floormates should be easy, right? You know your best friends better than you know yourself. Buying them a present should be no problem at all … until the shopping begins. You second-guess yourself — will your friend remember the obscure inside joke that inspired the gift waiting in your Amazon shopping cart? How is it that you’ve managed to forget every hobby and interest your brother has specifically when it comes time to buy him a gift?

Then, after laboring over every possible detail of the gifts for the people you planned for, inevitably an overeager gift-giver surprises you with an unexpected present. They smile smugly, knowing they have you beat, all under the guise of holiday cheer. Do not fall for it. Do not trust it. You will be forced to laugh and lie through your teeth, saying, “Oh, I left your gift at home! I’ll get it to you next time I see you!” because doing anything else would not-so-subtly imply, “I don’t value you enough as a human being to have thought ahead and bought you a gift.” Then you have to rush home, pick a present from the top of the other surprise gifts the overachievers have forced upon you, and shamelessly re-gift it.

This is, of course, assuming the best-case scenario, in which you actually enjoy the gift sprung on you. This likely will not be the case. How many times have you torn through layers of expertly wrapped tissue paper just to be horribly disappointed with what you find inside? Some miserable book you were already forced to read for English class in middle school, a giftcard to a store no one under the age of 45 shops at or a T-shirt two sizes too big with a picture of a Minion on it are just the tip of the iceberg for terrible gifts you could be faced with. It’s the thought that counts, right? You have no choice but to graciously accept the gift that will soon be shoved under your bed with little hope of resurfacing (or in the case of the Minion shirt, maybe set on fire).

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