Gift VS Present by Seth Godin
I say that a gift is rooted in support and a present is founded upon quilt.. A gift requires thought and a present meets a deadline… White elephant gifts connect people in a mutual event, while a present fills a desire to not lose face… And, shipping gifts can turn a personal gift into a delivered present.
Seth Godin suggests that“a gift costs the giver something real. It might be cash, but more likely it involves a sacrifice or a risk or an emotional exposure. A true gift is a heartfelt connection, something that changes both the giver and the recipient”.
Lee Knight, the overachiever coach makes a distinction by saying that “…we give someone a present because we think they’ll benefit from it, whereas a gift is something they have expressed interest in or would like to buy on their own”.
When a birthday is approaching, those who truly love and support take the time to select “the” gift. Those who are rushing to not miss the date, find a presents to wrap. I know that this is true because I live with a gift giver, and I am a present purchaser.
My wife, Sarah will spend 30 minutes selecting the perfect card to demonstrate her personal connection with the person who will eventually open the envelope. I, on the other hand, swoop into the store (the day of the event), speed-read the words, grab the envelope and head for the cashier.
Sarah takes the same care as she approaches the actual gift selection. Sarah is a gift giver not a present wrapper. She anxiously awaits to see the expression on a loved ones face when they open their gift. Sarah wraps her love and support around the gift.
I think that this is why it is so difficult to be a true gift giver at a distance. The personal connection is lost, and the UPS driver doesn’t wear a party hat.
This is the reason that our family gift exchange party has been so important to Sarah. With this online mimic of a party, some of the magic of gift giving is returned. All participate in the banter as each gift is virtual opened and the party proceeds. Then when the UPS driver arrives with the package, the memories have an opportunity to come out of the box with the gift.
Millions of true gift givers live with the same frustration that Sarah experiences when she sends off a gift to one of our children or grandchildren. At least her online substitute for a supportive gift giving experience helps to make a gift remain a gift, even at a distance.
Are you a gift giver or a present deliverer?
If you fancy enjoying a complete gift giving experience, then you might try hosting a white elephant gift exchange party and watch how presents quickly turn into gifts.