The skillful art of gift giving

Five foot snowdrifts, bell-ringing Salvation Army people and perpetually frozen ears. Oh, the wonders of December. But with the magic of the holidays comes the unusually difficult art of gift-giving. For some reason, different people seem to have different tastes. “The best gift is probably cash,” junior David Lee said. “Worst is anything I wouldn’t use like pencils or socks. Socks are terrible. I don’t usually buy [people] gifts because I don’t want to get something that they don’t like.” “The best gift ever? Socks,” senior John Yang said. “They were multiple colors and fuzzy and they just went in between my toes and made me feel so good…” Unfortunately, as one can see, these two people, although both Asian and male, have surprisingly different preferences. Giving the perfect tear-jerker gift doesn’t just involve having a lot of money to spare (although that would certainly be helpful), it also requires that the gift-giver have an intimate understanding of the gift-receiver. At the very least, the gift-giver should know his victim’s favorite color and deepest fear. If a friend happens to both despise pink and have ablutophobia (that is, the fear of washing/bathing), getting him a bubble bath gift basket probably wouldn’t be very useful, no matter how well you think the shade of pink brings out his blue eyes. In fact, he may be downright offended. “The worst gift I ever got was from my friend,” senior Anna Baumgartner said. “It was a singing frog and it was wearing gangster clothes and it had bling and everything and it sang ‘Take me to the Candy Shop.’” Thus the first rule of skilled gift-giving: Know thy gift-receiver. Don’t go and get those earrings for your girlfriend with unpierced ears. Take some time to think, “Will she really need a glow-in-the-dark Lil’ Wayne lawn ornament?” Chances are no, she will not in fact need anything to spice up her lawn, much less Lil’ Wayne in blinding radioactive green. Well how was I supposed to know? “I’m the only girl on both sides of the family so they don’t know to shop for me,” an unnamed source said. “I get clothes that are really girly, like pink and lacy and frilly.” “I pick out what I want during the year,” junior Paizen Ku said. “If I like something my parents will get it and be like “it’s an early Christmas present!” We don’t really have [presents during Christmas].” In the end it’s when one succeeds without the power of paper a.k.a. a wish list, or plastic a.k.a. a gift card, that the gift giving process is most fulfilling. Knowing that the recipient’s exclamation of,”This was just what I wanted!” isn’t just a thinly veiled exclamation of fury is deeply satisfying. “People are just like ‘You got socks?’” senior Delaney Kolb said. “But if they’re long and excitedly patterned [it’s really] epic. They keep your legs warm and they look good so it’s just double the awesomeness.” “My favorite gift, it was when I was 2 or 3, was this plastic tea cup set,” junior Christina Tringides said. “And I’d just pretend to make tea all the time and have an imaginary tea party. It was embarrassing.” If all else fails, find some expensive looking wrapping paper and hope that the recipient will love the outside so much that he doesn’t care that you got him a paperweight that strongly resembles a brick. Remember that cash is never refused and gift cards don’t ever really fail, but what people most appreciate is the fact some love -n- care was put into a present. Sometimes the recipient himself doesn’t know what he wants. Just try not to get too predictable because, as David Lee says, “A surprise would be nice.”