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Relationships in the digital age

Christmas Angst and the Psychology of Gifts: 5 Giver Types

Maybe it isn't the canned music or the crowds or the pressure of enforced joy that leaves so many of us feeling that we can't wait to get the holidays over with...Could it possibly be about the gifts? Read More

"Isn’t giving presents

"Isn’t giving presents supposed to make us happy? After all, the Bible does tell us that it’s more blessed to give than to receive."

Who cares what the 'bible' says?

You forgot the

You forgot the apologetic/self-conscious giver (me)! Someone who accompanies every gift with the message "If you don't like it, I have the receipt!"


Yes, indeed I did... I also forgot the closely related giver who goes on and on about what he or she "almost" gave you....But maybe they're both variants on the "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?"

The research

I was happy to see that the research bears out my own feeling that shared experiences (in the cited research, family time and religious observances) bring more genuine happiness than objects. Not that I don't LOVE the perfect gift, mind you, especially as a surprise (one year, my husband blew me away with a tiny jewelry-quality refillable decorative 14K gold bottle of my favorite Shalimar perfume-- not cologne, not eau de parfum, but PERFUME). But what I love, and I'm lucky and blessed that Frank agrees, is the special dinner out, the movie-themed long weekend with good takeout and long walks, the special vacation in our favorite place. Those are the gifts that keep on giving YEARS after they are given.
Those gifts are also more meaningful for older parents/grandparents, who don't necessarily want more objects cluttering up their home. After my mom died, my dad told us not to get him any more Christmas gifts; so all five of us decided that he would never pay for a restaurant meal again, and told him that would be his gift. He loved that and appreciated it because (1)he liked eating and (2)he liked eating in social situations. It worked out wonderfully well for the 5 years we had him after our mom died.

Yes. THIS.

I have been reading that experiences with loved ones bring much more joy than possessions. I know firsthand that my kids have toys still in their original boxes never opened that they have long outgrown. I'm now all about reducing the clutter, consumerism, conspicuous consumption, and materialism in my and my family's life. My peeps are getting experiences for Christmas: movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, snow tubing passes. Things they will do, remember, and not have to store or give away (because no one ever seems to be able to give anything away, no matter how completely unused it is. Abandon the bigger box is better mentality. Give a memory. Simplify and be happier.

I love the phrase "Give a

I love the phrase "Give a memory." Consider it appropriated! If I knew your real name, I'd attribute it....:)

Why, thank you, Peg :-)

My name is Donna Pirnat. I am in the business of giving memories, so to speak. Check out my website at, and my meetup at Use your money to DO things that make you happy, not BUY things that you think will make you happy, but won't.
Namaste! and Happy Holidays, too.

Cool. Consider yourself

Cool. Consider yourself quoted!


so, Peg. Oops. I am also the poster above, Unappreciated Ex Girlfriend. Boy is my face red ;-) Did a lot of posting on different articles last night (under different pseudonymns,) apparently. Oh well. :-)

What category am I? What category are my siblings?

Thank you for this article!

Every year I complain about Christmas stress, and say THIS YEAR I'M NOT BUYING ANYONE PRESENTS. But I always go back on that. We haven't lived near family for years (the rest of my partner and my families all live close to one another} and every year send small presents to everyone. I stress and stress about finding the perfect suitable present for each person -- I know I don't need to do this, and I know that the presents aren't expected, yet somehow I just fall into the trap every year.

The thing is, no one (my partner and I have a bazillion siblings} ever sends us anything but our mothers. And no one ever acknowledges what we've send except our mothers. Am I just a glutton for punishment? Should I stop sending gifts to everyone except the people who actually seem to care -- my mom and mother in law??

I should add, too, that it's the same for our young son -- our mothers are the only ones who ever send him anything.

I obviously get something out of giving presents, but there must be some sort of passive-aggressive crap going on if I feel like what I put so much thought into sending should be acknowledge and even reciprocated, right? Could this just be a way of our siblings saying: you really don't need to bother!!

But if you like doing it....

I love giving gifts actually so I don't see what harm there is in your gifting without reciprocity. In fact, that seems like a good quality since you don't seem angry about it. What's wrong with generosity and thoughtfulness after all? It's the lack of acknowledgment that's a bit distressing... Maybe contribute to a local charity or food bank? It's up to you, I think. (And this is my personal opinion since I'm not a therapist.)

Christmas Gift Giving

I think that there are people who just give because that it's the appropriate thing to do, it is the only way that they know to express how they feel, words would ruin what they wish to convey, and they wish to show that they can provide for the person that they love and it gives them pleasure to give.. I also think that people also mistakenly believe that there must be reciprocity involved because a gift is given, especially in relationships and that many times this can ruin a perfectly great relationship - simply because gifts are only given at holidays and not at other times - as if there are on socially accepted times for gift giving; when any time is appropriate.
Any thoughts in the context of Gift giving in relationships?

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Peg Streep, author or coauthor of nine books, is a New York City based writer currently working on a book about the Millennial generation.


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