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I am in agreement with you about cards... someone is making a lot of money via some paper with pretty words. Half the time I can't even find a card as they are too mushy for me!

I am moving from sentimental to your way as my house is too full of crap I feel that I can't throw out.

Good luck with your 'friend' issues!

I don't think I can help make you understand why some people are the way they are. For some people I guess it's just the attention to detail that shows them that you care enough to try to please them.

Should you? Well... it wouldn't hurt you to go the extra mile. Whereas it may hurt THEM if you don't. Maybe meet in the middle? Get the the "impersonal" gift certificate but take the time to put it in a pretty gift bag or into a nice card that suits the occasion.

I'm not usually the type to pacify people when it goes against something that I don't buy into. When in comes to something as easily remedied as this? I totally would. If it makes them happy and it doesn't cause you great pain, then why not?

HTH. xoxo

There are a handful of people who require the sentimental crap, so we provide it for them even though we can't relate to their need for such tokens (e.g., my grandma just turned 94—couldn't really skip that birthday card or party, could I?). And those sentimental people also feel the need to give other people that sort of crap, so we say a sweet "thank you" and leave it at that.

I'm in the middle, personally. I don't require much from my husband, and I prefer giving gift certificates or taking people out for dinner to shopping and wrapping merchandise for them. Except for nieces and nephews—I like to give them Xmas presents. But a couple of my SILs, they give minimal gifts to my kid, or nothing at all. I've learned to accept that I should enjoy giving their kids things if I want to, but I should forget about expecting reciprocation.

I'm meandering here and making no actual points. (Asshole. Look what you made me do.)

No advice, just a suggestion for family cards: take a piece of paper and put K&A's hand/foot print on it and glue to cardstock. Write something smushy inside. Instant cheap card they'll love.

Or do the same thing with a photo of A&K and a silly caption. You can crank out a bunch of these in a couple of hours and have one on hand whenever you need it.

If you need help with writing something smushy, the scrapbook sites have great quotes.

I'm inclined to say that gifts/cards are about the person being celebrated and if what makes them feel celebrated is a card and pretty gift wrap, even if it's not your preference, you do it because it's for that person, it's about that person, not about you. I know what you mean, however, about your own preference regarding types of gifts. We do a lot of homemade cards. In addition to hand/footprints and photos, you can also have the babes scribble/paint. Do it on a huge piece of paper, cut the paper into bits, glue to cardstock and leave as is for an abstract card, or stick on a photo and the artwork is the frame. You could also give a dinner/coffee outing with you as a gift. Maybe I'm an asshole too, because I do like to give gifts that I value as well. After all, the receiver ought not look a gift horse in the mouth, nor dictate what type of gift is appropriate. Goes both ways!

I agree that one ought to try to do at least a bit of what makes the sentimental person feel good -- they are the person who needs the gesture that says, "I care how *you* want things." I would hope they would also honor your desires about your own special days, though, and it sounds like maybe they don't. It sounds like when it comes to your own b-day/Xmas/etc, it is not just that you are unsentimental -- of course you have sentiments and feelings! You are just like the rest of us and want people to meet you where you are. That is reasonable.

I'm with you on the cards and the wrapping paper. Greeting cards are just a huge rip off. For big gifts I generally use the funny pages from the Sunday paper for wrapping. I drive my kids nuts carefully removing/cutting the tape on wrapped gifts so I can reuse the paper.

I do like to buy little things for people - things that show I am paying attention to their wants and needs. I love the magazine instead of a card idea - brilliant!

Some people think that love shows up in the form of a present. You clearly aren't one of those people and the people in your life need to do you the favor of respecting your lack of sentimentality and recognizing the ways in which you do say 'I care'. You in turn need to accept their silly little gifts as gracefully as possible (but do ask that they enclose a gift receipt)

My husband and I tend to give each other slly presents to make the other smile -- funny books, plastic toy pigs, clever kitchen doo-dads, etc. good thinig we`re well-matched int aht department, like you and Marko!

But everyone is different, and people need to accept this. I`m sure you make some effort to do "sentimental" things sometimes, to make people you love happy. These people need to meet you halfway, and understand that you are different from them, and therefore they need to have different expectations.

My parents are so unsentimental that they stopped putting up a Christmas tree when I was 11 and my brother was 9, because it was too much of a bother. They did away with presents, too, because they hated wrapping them, and just gave us cash to buy our own. I know now that they were just doing what felt right for them, but wow, they sure managed to stamp out so much joy.... There`s such a thing as being TOO pragmatic, so I try to strike a balance.

My sister freaks out if we don't remember her wedding anniversary. Well I have news for you!! It is your anniversary, not mine, it is for you two to celebrate, not us!! What is that all about? (quite frankly I feel anyone else would have treated her better, and not totally taken away her self confidence, so why should I celebrate 22 years of submission to an rude beast?).

Have a lovely day, Tertia!!!

I would just buy the damn card and gift to make them happy - then hopefully when it's their turn to buy you a gift they will try do what makes you happy - and get a gift certificate or take you to lunch or something. If it is that important to them then try make the effort even though it seems pointless to you.

I haven't read the other replies yet, I wanted to write down what I thought before I forget...lol..

I think that even though you don't really find it important, if you KNOW that THEY do, then you should make the effort. That would please them, I bet. Especially knowing how much you really don't care for it.

If it's someone's birthday/anniversary/whatever, and you know that they would appreciate the effort, then what's the harm in buying a card and slapping some wrapping on the gift? They'll be happy that you made the effort, and you should be happy that they are happy.

As for them always buying you a gift instead of giving you a gift card...think of it this way: They care so much for you that they are willing to spend the time/money/effort to find you the perfect gift and then look for a card that says exactly what they are feeling, and then they wrap the gift in something pleasing to the eye all in an effort to make you happy and to make you feel special. So in my opinion, it wouldn't hurt to do the same..

If you and Marko feel the same and are fine with that, then that's awesome. But if you know that others aren't fine with it, then it makes you look pretty good to make an effort...lol...

That's just my thoughts!

Everyone has their own "love language". My husband doesn't really care about cards and the like, but he knows that little gifts and the time he spends finding something makes me feel special and loved, so he does it. I can give him gifts in a paper sack and he doesn't care. He'd much rather get something like the six coupons you gave your guy. Enough said.

I never spend money on that stuff either, unless for a very special occaision, you know someones wedding or a special birthday. But Like some of the others, I make cards usinf photos of my childrenand that hand/footprint thing goes down a treat.
Now that my children are older, in fact since they started kinder, i have re used the 7 million paintings that would come home each week as present wrap. So you could always go to ikea and buy a big roll of cheap paper along with some of their cheap paints and stuff and let your little go mad!
This saves the house from having paintings all over, and everyone loves them.

i also always re use GIFT BAGS I love them. Easy to pop something into and reclaim later!

I feel the same way as you about cards, and the whole gift wrapping thing. As a family, we made lists of preferred gifts (including product codes sometimes - we were very thorough) for every birthday and Christmas. Bit like a wedding registry. My brother and I have the same taste in movies and books, so we usually buy ourselves the same dvd or book and pretend we gave it to each other!

This worked well for years, then my father married a 'Card Woman' as we term her, and suddenly we started getting cards for birthdays (of the 'My Darling Daughter' ilk. Apologies to anyone who likes them, but really, yuck!). However, it clearly became very important to him, so we have started sending him cards as well, and guessing what gift he might like - I suspect his level of enjoyment of the actual gifts has diminuished as part of this, but he now sees the effort around the gift as some kind of barometer of how much we care.

I think you should look at it like management - I can't manage every member of my staff, or all of my business users, in the same way. Each requires an individual approach, and it's up to me to ensure that I modify my approach accordingly. Some like formal meetings with agendas, some like a quick phone call, some like an email, some like a report, some like a long lunch involving wine (my favourite people!) etc etc. To make things run smoothly and get the best out of everyone, I try to use their preferred approach as far as possible, even if it isn't mine.

That's a very long-winded way of saying I do believe that if you know it's important to someone else, you have to make a bit of an effort, if only to make your life easier. And hopefully eventually they will return the favour and give you a gift certificate instead of another well-intentioned, but unwanted, gift.

It's the THOUGHT that counts. If you aren't in to cards, wrapping paper or gifts ... that's fine. But, so long as you make SOME kind of gesture to recognize the person ... that's what I believe is important.

Although, I do have a relative that goes absolutely batty if she doesn't receive a birthday card, Christmas present, or thank you note within 5-days of her sending a gift to us. Taking her irrational behavior in to account - I do bend to accomodate certain personality types (i.e. the wacky ones).

Tertia, just remember you asked! You did ask didn't you? For everyone else just skip ahead to the next entry.

My husband and I got married on Valentine's Day and the diamond in my ring is heart shaped. I chose this date because it is so advertised and knew he could not forget our anniversary. Plus it made for easy wedding colors - red and white.

On to the sentimental part. I am sooo sentimental that I think it borders on the OCD/OCS line. I save everything. It really is pathetic. It is just that when I come across something someone gave me it instantly takes me back to the moment attached with additional memories. I visit memory lane often. It is important to me. All I do is look at a picture, a drawing from a child, a meal receipt, a card, old gift wrap (I do recycle when I can), or anything else. I do not want to lose specific memories that are connected to a particular time or person. I love the warm feelings attached with the memories.

I know I should stop and let you drink something to wash down all this sweetness. But I guess it balances out the warped sense of humor in me. For me it is a visual that goes along with other senses, such as the olfactory sense. Think about a familiar smell that takes you back to a certain moment. Apple pie at Christmas or the perfume you wore on your wedding day.

My grandmother was very sentimental. She kept every card given to her and put them on the walls in her bedroom. The walls were covered in beautiful cards. It really was pretty. She was reminded every night before she went to bed and every morning when she woke up just how much she was loved and thought of.

My other grandfather lives alone now and he keeps photos of each of his children in a frame where he can see them when he goes to sleep and wakes up.

I guess I am trying to come up with a simple explanation and I am not doing so well. Here is a last attempt. Some people will want a card/gift/whatever because it is what will make their day more special/memorable. Some people feel it is socially appropriate. Some people admire the token of sentiment as if holding on to a small piece of the moment or person who gave it to them. The sentiment is surrounded by memories and is actually something that was there at the precise moment the memories were being made.

Tertia, you have your blogs. You will always have your book. You will have all these wonderful pictures of your family. Did you keep any of Adam's hair from his first haircut? I am sure one day you will have sweet cards that Kate or Adam makes you for your birthday or Mother's Day or any day.

I think I have rambled enough. I also think I may have muddied the waters worse.

Oh hell, whatever, just buy or make the damn card, wrap the gift, and I hope you get gift certificates when you want them.

I love cards. me and my best friend both do. We do cards for everything. Even if we cant afford a present, a 50p card that we've spent time looking for means a lot to us. I have a rule with my husband - I dont care if I get no presents for anything (birthday, christmas, anniversaries) as long as I get a card. He was the opposite and hated cards like you - but now he's coming round to my way of thinking - 50p isnt much for him to keep me happy!!

Re. wrapping paper - i go as cheap as I can or reuse little gift bags people give me. To be honest, we've started only buying for other peoples kids (no adults) anyway - otherwise you end up spending a fortune on things people dont really want or need. And kids do love the ripping of the paper!

I dont really have any advice as to what you can do with your friends. I suppose its a bit of a meet in the middle? Maybe those that really like cards, you get a card and no gift certificate for - I'm sure they'll soon want the £10 instead of the paper!!

I think one of the trickiest things to learn about how to love other people well is learning what communicates love, care, thoughtfulness to THEM, rather than doing what comes naturally to US.

If your friend is hoping for cards, or presents, or gestures of that kind, and you don't do it, then she is going to be disappointed - just as you are when your family gives you something they think you should have rather than what you actually want.

You and Marko are very lucky you are so similar in this respect, as lots of couples struggle with it.


OKay, a mixed view as I am both rather sentimental and incredibly practical and pragmatic.

As for cards, wrapping paper, gift certificates, etc. Those, to me, are in the eyes of the giver. Some people aren't card people, some peoepl hate wrapping and prefer using a (reusable) bag, some people hate gioving gift certificates and some people love giving them. Whatever you are more comforable with, do. People who love/care about you, etc learn that you are just not a crd person and know not to expect one from you.

But as to celebrations. If you attend one I insist you participate and participate whole-heartedly. Sing "Happy Birthday" even if your voice is hideously off key, play the silly games, etc. Laugh it up and have fun. Remember the celebration is for them, and you should embrace what they want from it.

I think there has to be a degree of compromise............

But I also agree with the poster above saying the celebration is for them, and they should be made to feel special... and be celebrated how they want? (within reason, of course).

But, I do agree with you on the cards and wrapping paper. Waste of time and money.

I often try to find out what the person wants for the upcoming occasion and get that. My friends can be very tricky people to buy for. However, being as I enjoy wrapping gifts and writing cards, they will still get it wrapped even if they know what I'm getting. It's a case of compromise I've learned. Make sure you celebrate the person and respect the way they enjoy having things done without putting yourself out too much.

If towing the line makes them feel special, then I think you should do it. Knowing you don't agree but you do it anyway for them will make it even more special. As for the cards and gift wrap - go and buy a roll of butchers paper and a set of crayons. Adam and Kate are old enough now to scribble, and voila - instant and practically free cards and wrap for all occasions. They have to earn their keep somehow!

Someone mentioned already, but I believe we all do have different love languages - ways we give and receive love. I would love my trees cut down in the garden for my birthday, my hubby wants a special gift, wrapped, and it has to be something he would like or wants. I think you really should have it out with your family (in a good way) and recognize that they really appreciate the cards, the fluff, and take the time to do it and give the gift that you hate - because that shows love to them and it's part of the package. But tell them in return that you really feel loved when you get a gift certificate and ask them to recognize your desires in return. Besides, you can always have your kids start to make the cards and ask the folks at the gift counter to wrap it for you!

Agree with you about the card thing, but sometimes doing something that you don’t normally do shows just how much you care. Like sending a card to someone for whom cards are more important than gifts. I prefer buying gifts (basically because I get to wrap them and I LOVE wrapping gifts) to gift vouchers, because I feel it’s more personal. If I know someone prefers a gift voucher, I will get them a nice little box, or a magazine they like and put the gift voucher with it. I hardly ever bother with cards as I would rather spend the extra 20 bucks on the gift than on a stupid card. Throughout the year I also buy little things on the sales which I will then give with the gift voucher. And if I get a gift I don’t like, I don’t think twice about taking it back and swopping it for something else! So shoot me…

Well I would go to say that if a card is such a small silly thing, then what does it hurt if that small silly thing is what makes them happy? You can't judge what works for other people. OR, if you really can't make the jump to waste the money on the card, you do have to put forth the effort to recognize them someway. If you put for that effort to recognize them in "your unique" way, perhaps they will put forth the effort to appreciate what you can offer instead of what they expect as dictated by our culture..

If it's about them and not you then I say put forth the effort. It tells that person that even though you're not into the whole card/useless dust catcher thing that you were thinking of them and what would make them happy.

Of course, I only do this for people who I know will be offended if I don't.


Seriously, I think you've given a great idea!
From now on, I think I'm going to give magazines instead of cards!
Cards are a waste of money, but who doesn't love to sit back and read some gossip?

Meet in the middle. I wouldn't go all out and get a gift and wrap it up in expensive paper with a pretty little bow and spend too much on a card, but a gift card to somewhere they like, in a cute little gift bag that they can reuse, with a personal "happy birthday, i love you" note on simple white paper (or nice paper) would probably make them feel good.

My husband and I aren't into cards and gift giving either, but we do let the kids pick out a toy each to give the other person. Yesterday was DH's birthday, he got a sling shot and a bow and arrow (both very cheap toys, broke the first time he used them). About 30 seconds before they gave him his gifts, we dug through our gift bag pile, found two that would work, no tissue paper, no nothing. After we were finished with our little party, the bags went back in the closet to be reused for someone else!

Cards, yes, an extreme waste of time and money. And like you, I hang onto them when I get them, and toss them the next time I clean. Ug. My MIL is the QUEEN of handmade cards. Now those are even tougher since she put so much time into them (she does this punch art thing, which I know has to take a long time). And she sends them for every event imaginable. I didn't even know half those holidays existed! But, it makes her happy, I guess that's what's important. When she sends them to the kids, I let the kids play with them for a while, which usually tears them up, so I don't feel bad about throwing those away.

Now all that being said, I'm very bad about saving all my kid's artwork and their birthday cards. I swear one day they're going to want to see all their artwork from when they were learning to draw a circle, or read all their cards from their 5th birthday party. I bought two giant tubs and put all their artwork in them over the weekend. I will say, it was really neat to see their progress in their drawing and coloring over the last few years. Maybe I save it for me and not for them after all.

I think you should do whatever would make the person happy. It's THEIR celebration, not yours. Saying, "well, a card is just plain silly" implies that THEY are silly for liking cards. You get the point. If you give the magazine with a handwritten note - then to me that is a card, plus some.

IMO, giving gift certificates is just like exchanging money - so why bother? It always irritates me at Christmas to give/receive gift cards. It's like the person is telling me "I didn't bother to think about you and what you would like at all, and I'm out of time - so here's some cash. Can I have my cash now?" Why doesn't everyone just keep their own money if they all want to pick their own stuff out? I do make exceptions for gift cards for particular things - like a favourite restaurant if you know they have a favourite - or for me - a certificate to the scrapbook store - b/c everyone knows I live to scrapbook. But at least with *those* types of cards, there is some consideration for things that suit *me*. I HATE general gift cards to the mall. It's impersonal, and to me, a bit rude. Another exception - teenagers and college kids - they NEED money - and they don't even know what they want, so how could you?

Cards, I can take or leave. I don't get my feelings hurt if there is no card, but I did save the one and only card that my husband actually wrote in.

Gift wrap - the simpler the better and I store gift bags to reuse them. I LOVE the gift bag. Recycled one yesterday for a baby gift. Haven't bought new Christmas bags in 3 years.

Note, that since I said that this is about the receiver of the gift, if I had to buy you a gift (knowing that you loved gift certificates) then I would find out your very favourite store, or restaurant, or place where you get your haircut or botox, and get you a certificate from there. Win, win - you get a gift card, and I get to *think* about your gift.

I think a bit of compromise sounds appropriate. For someone else's event, birthday, wedding, whatever, you should do what you know would make them happy. It's not about you, it's about them. For your event, birthday, whatever, they should do what would make you happy. Hopefully they'll care to find out what would make you happy, but you can't really control that. You can just control making sure that the people around you know that you love them and care enough about them to do something they'll like, even if you think it's silly.

My husband is on the less-sentimental side of things, and I'm slightly more sentimental. On my birthday, he tries to make me feel special in dumb ways (that I like!); on his birthday, I reign in my impulses and only do what he'd like. It works for us.

On the other side of things, my sister-in-law is a "here is my list, buy me one of these" kind of person, and it definitely takes the fun away. I do like to get something that I know she'll like, but I'm keenly aware that she's more interested in the object she's receiving than in the thought that went into it. Fine for her, but it feels like a transaction instead of a gift to me. I usually get her something that I think she'll like and make sure I include the gift receipt. She knows I won't be offended if she returns it, so it seems like a compromise.

Be yourself, I say...
don't do cards/wrap/gifts?
Then DON'T.
I think it's a lovely idea to call someone on their birthday and wish them all the best.
Inviting someone for coffee or a glass of wine instead of a present should be a pleasant change for an adult...

I think it's completely ridiculous for adults to buy each other presents.

My birthday is in a couple of weeks and I've asked K if I might order a new pair of eyeglass frames.

WendyP mentioned "love languages." I wholeheartedly agree with this concept. There is a book about it but I found this at the author's website:
Throughout all my counseling, I found that truly connecting with a loved one came down to one simple fact: you need to know and speak his or her love language. A love language is the way we express our devotion and commitment, and it can be learned or changed to touch the hearts of our partners.

Whether you’re a spouse, a parent, or a single, the five love languages are the same:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Receiving Gifts
3. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
My husband and I heard about this and you don't even have to read the book (I haven't) to understand that people are just different and you have to give THEM love in the way that THEY receive it. It's extremely helpful in ALL relationships.

I'm totally with you. I prefer to give experiences - dinner out on me; movie passes - than things.

I agree with the -idea- that it's good to make an effort for those who are really close to you where you know it's important to them. There are some people who actually notice who doesn't send them a birthday card and freak out... I don't want my friends and family to feel hurt, so I try.

In reality I often fall down on the job because it is so... foreign to me. What I do try to do instead is when I'm thinking of them, drop that person an email or a voice mail that is really appreciative, so that when I do f*** up they will forgive me. Then we sort of meet in the middle.

Like you, my husband and I are lucky to be similar on this subject. He always says "Every day is Christmas.", and by that he means that if he/I/our son/relatives need(s) anything, we simply get it -- we don't need an occasion to do it. Just a few weeks ago, I went shopping with my SIL as an excuse to visit and find some new clothes for her growing six-month-old. In one shop, I jumped in and paid the bill; just because. I think that kind of thing is appreciated far more than any birthday gift.

Certainly this makes buying presents for each other difficult, so we just don't do it. We don't celebrate the "Hallmark" (a card manufacturer) holidays like Valentine's Day for example, because we would rather choose another night when the restaurants aren't jammed to overflowing to have a nice dinner out and not feel pressured to leave because other guests are arriving. At Christmastime we buy presents only for relatives' children. We don't expect or want anything in return. That's just how we are.

I can't stand the thought of a drawer/closet full of stuff that serves no functional purpose and takes space from something more useful, so I'm very much the pragmatic one and don't particularly like receiving (or giving) cards and the like.

One thing that I think is key to making this work without offending is to make sure you tell everyone that this is how you operate. Be clear in your communication so that no one is unhappily surprized or disappointed. All of our relatives know how we do things, and many have also adopted our style.

Something I would like to add though, is that we do take part in any games or activities associated with a celebration. Just because we haven't brought a card/present doesn't mean that we won't contribute to the fun of a celebration. And before I come off sounding completely hardened, I do do one somewhat sentimental thing: I usually take lots of photos at an event and make a point of sending copies to the people involved. If anyone wants something to remember the occasion by, I think that's the best way.

Now that I have children I have them help me make cards and wrapping paper for people who would actually appreciate that. Instead of buying a card for Grandma, one of the girls draws a picture and I sign it and send it off. I use plain brown craft paper for wrapping paper, and put the kids' handprints or footprints on it, or let them go crazy with crayons.

For people who wouldn't enjoy things from the kids, I make an effort. I might still make a card because I think it's ridiculous to pay all that money (and same for a gift bag - outrageous!) But I would do something because it is important to the other person. I guess you have to ask which is more important to you - making the other person happy or not compromising your disdain of sentimentality.

I am a little sentimental (keep handmade cards but not the store bought ones, etc.) and for me, its about acknowledgement. It makes me crazy when my husbands family wants a list of what I want for my birthday because #1 it makes me feel extrememly greedy and presumptuous to list what they should buy me and #2 its shows no thought.

With some exceptions (like the purple curduroys and scottie dog vest my mom bought me for Christmas), I won't ever hate something someone thought through and bought for me. It gives me a glimpse into their perception of me.

Maybe it sounds very self centered but I'm a mom - at Christmastime, birthdays, holidays, its my job to make it all pretty and perfect for my family so when it is my turn to see some thought put into MY good time (like my birthday), I like to see what people come up with. It has nothing to do with WHAT I get or even HOW its given (sometimes people will just cut off a piece of matching wrapping paper, fold it over and write happy birthday inside), just that someone thought for a second about me and what I might like.

Like Kay said, I would love a gc if it showed the person thought of my interets. I have even loved cash when the giver had a purpose for giving it to me (I know you are saving for a ....). I would also love if someone said "I'm taking you out for lunch for your birthday, what day is good for you?" if that is what they are comfortable with. Its just about being thought of.

One hint I have learned: it seems to me, people really give gifts that they like to get. Gift certificates, handmade things, books, clothes. Pay attention to what people give and you will get great insight into the types of gifts they like to receive.

Lastly, for what its worth, I think a well timed card on a non holiday is 100x more valuable than a birthday card. Its just nice to know you are being thought of fondly, you know?

Stephanie, WendyP, and Becky in the UK have already touched on it, but this sort of conundrum never really clicked with me until I read the Five Love Languages book. (V.v. quick read if you are at all interested.)

My language is split pretty evenly between Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation. I appreciate a sincere compliment from my husband as much as I do a gift. It took me reading this book to realize that he is totally different and that he is more inclined to appreciate acts of service (cooking dinner, picking up his dry cleaning, etc.) I never believed him all these years when he said he didn't really want anything for his birthday, etc. Now I do.

The point is--it doesn't matter if giving gifts, cards, etc. is not what you "do". If someone is really close to you, you do what is important to THEM.

I totally agree with you on the wrapping the gift part. So wasteful. Now I put all gifts in gift bags, that way it can be re=used. I know I do.

I am having a very difficult time right now with a friend who IS very sentimental, whereas I am very NOT. It is difficult to explain to people who say "just buy the thing/go to the thing/say the thing/whatever" because it's not even so much that I am deliberately being cold-hearted as these things just don't even occur to me! Here is where the "do unto others" rule doesn't quite work, does it, because what I want done unto me is as little a to-do as possible, and that just won't work with some other folks. It's a perpetual issue, I'm constantly stressed about whether I'm doing enough. (Thank God my partner is equally unsentimental, too!)

It seems like you value time spent with people over things, and i think that's great. Perhaps your signature gift on birthdays, etc, could be to take people out to lunch or dinner? That way you don't have to bother with wrapping anything, and you're still acknowledging a day that is important to other people.

(And i wholeheartedly second the whole 'Let the kids make the card' thing. You have a good 10 years where the kids will LOVE making the card, and most people will love having some artwork for their fridge..)

I think it's important you give the a gift in a way that will be significant to the reciever. A gift isn't meant to pass on your life philosophy, but to celebrate the person. When you tell a person that loves all the trimmings that you think it's "silly", THEY hear that you think THEY are silly. (I know that is absolutely not true, but welcome to the human mind!)

My husband could care less about wrap, cards etc. but he loves having special time carved out for him, so my gift to him reflect this. Eg: an iPod to use while he goes running, a movie night together (I'm not much of a movie person!)

My sister loves the sentimental stuff- wrapping, cards & gift. I think she has every card she has ever received! So I make sure her presents are done to the nines- and she loves it! (I buy cards in bulk- way cheaper ($0.50 each) and they tend to be unique.)

For me, it seems pointless to give a gift if it won't be significant to the person I'm giving to- THAT would be a waste of my money!

P.S. It would be nice if those giving to me would do the same, but I can only change what I do and continue asking for what I want- Gift Certificates!!!!

what does arb (as in "stupid, wanky arb day") mean?

I agree. It's about them and not you. Just like you wish they would give gifts the way you want them too, you should do the same favor.

Hmmm.... me thinks this subject is worthy of a poll, no?

I'm with you, Tertia, with the exception that I LOVE buying gifts for people and think I'm rather brilliant at it (no one has contradicted this theory, and my family all claim to want me to "draw" their name for the Xmas gift giving, but they could be putting me on and I really suck at gift-buying). I put A LOT of thought into presents, but then again, I only buy for my husband and the occasional family member.

Cards -- don't get me started. How am I supposed to feel TOUCHED when someone buys some pre-printed crap poetry to "express" how they feel about me? Really, your feelings about me as a daughter/sister/best friend can be summed up by one of 17 stock cards? Is that supposed to make me feel GOOD??? I don't do cards, I don't keep cards. You want to convey something to me, write it yourself: that will mean something, that I might keep around...

I just apologize for being this way. People who know me well understand this; people who don't can take it or leave it.

But if they make it way up to the top of my list, I'm pretty sure they'll get some perfect gift from me some day. For you, Tertia, definitely a v fancy bottle of wine...


Didn't read other comments so forgive me if I say the exact same thing as someone else. I think that you should make the effort to celebrate in the way your friend/family member wants. After all, it's their birthday/celebration, you should do what would make them happy. On the flip side of that, I think they should honor you by giving you gift certificates if that's what you want. Seems silly for them to go out and buy you something you don't really want when they know you would be happier with a gift cert.

I'm commenting without reading other comments so here is what I *really* think. When you go out and buy someone a present you take the time to do it (maybe not doing something you rather be doing), you think about that person, what it meants to you, what you think of her, and you try to get her something that will make her happy. And maybe you get it all wrong because you end up buying a smaller size of that sweater in that color that she thinks sucks but still the receiver will appreciate because she knows you took the time to do it.
I've spent countless hours looking for a gift for a friend. Hours that get longer by the fact that I live on a pretty tight budget. So when I receive a gift I know what the other person prabaly went thru to find it. And that feeling of being important for them is what I like. Not the gift itself.
And yes, I've ended with countless cards and orange sweatersthat make me look like crap. And that's ok.

I think we have quite a lot in common, you and I. I buy presetns of rpeople occasionally, but rarely for birthdays or horrid Xmas. I buy things only if they are appropriate or are something they need or have expressed a wish for. I can't stand the kind of tat that people pass around at jolly xmas time. You're just lumbered with them for ever, or until you callously throw them out or pass them on, which you can never do without feeling guilty about it.

Not reading the comments either. No time today!

But I think when it's someone's special day, and you are celebrating something for them, you should know what they like and then give it to them. Whether or not those things are important to you, they are important to your loved one, and they are the one you are celebrating at the moment. So give Marko gift certificates, but give others gifts you know they will enjoy in a manner they appreciate.

I havent read the other comments yet -- but here's my opinion. I am not at all sentimental either - some people are, I'm not. I would prefer a phone call on a special occasion to getting a card. You can't have a conversation with a card!

I started a lengthy tirade on the subject, and decided to delete it as I am in a grumpy mood today and it wasn't coming across nearly the way I wanted it to sound!

I guess the bottom line to what I started to say is this:

If you like being sentimental, go ahead and do your thing, but don't expect me to do the same. Respect my right to be "not sentimental" just as I respect your right to be sentimental.

Giving a gift should be about the person you are gifting, not about you. If cards are important to someone, what they will hear when you refuse to get one is "Your desires and needs aren't as important to me as my feelings about a card." I know money can be an issue, but my MIL makes wonderful cards from construction paper and dried flowers.

I'm a fairly sentimental gal, and while cards aren't that important to me, it is important to me that my husband get me surprise presents. Its not what he gets me--I could care less how much money he does or doesn't spend. It's that he took the time to think about what I might like. We've had a few discussions about that, and I think he's finally getting it. When he doesn't do it (he'll just offer to give me money), I feel like I'm not important enough to him to spend an hour's time on.

However, I've started doing gift certificates for my in-laws. I used to spend a lot of time and effort picking out gifts for them, but often felt like I was missing the mark when I watched them open those gifts. Now they just get the gift card--I feel lazy and selfish doing it, but they seem to love it, so I'm happy to give them what they want.

I gift-wrap presents for people who I know will enjoy a nicely wrapped present. For my father, for instance, I don't. He's like you in that respect. As for myself, I don't care either way. It's the thought that counts, and I have already received quite a number of non-wrapped gifts.

I hardly ever send birthday cards either, because I prefer to simply phone the person whose birthday it is. This being said, cards in Germany have a different status anyway. They're not used to document one's social status and/or amount of friends. They're really only here to congratulate someone you can't get hold of in person.

It's nice to read a post that comes from one's heart. I am exactly the same as you, I think it is more for the fact that I have a hard time remembering the dates, I am usually too late.lol I would also much rather give and receive vouchers - so much nicer to go and buy something you want or need than to have some unwanted dust collector perched ontop of the T.V. You do what you feel is right, nobody can decide for you and if they are really your friends then they wouldn't expect that from you cause they should know that you are not into being sentimental, it is the thought that counts anyway, or not? I do do it for my kids on their birthday's and special occassions though but that is about it! Don't beat yourself up about it, you are who you are and that's that!

Jeepers, dunno what happened to my comment - it has vanished! Anyway all I basically said is that you must be who you are - don't change to please people -
if you are not into that sort of stuff, so be it! Good Luck but don't beat yourself up too much about it at the end of the day, it is the thought that counts, or not? I will even be happy with a phone call!!!!!!!

Well! I got dumped once by this guy because on my birthday he brought me wine and bday cards. I read the cards and threw them away. I did drink the wine though! Seriously! I read them, I said thanks. He got all bent out of shape over me tossing them.

I don't miss him.

I think if someone you love is having a birthday or whatever, then you would (hopefully) want to make their day special, make them feel loved etc. So it's not really about YOUR preference at all. If they like cards, get them a card. If they like pretty wrappings, get them pretty wrappings. If they like gift cards, get them a gift card. Hopefully you are able to see past your own likes and dislikes and see what the other person wants.

Just my opinion, of course. I don't think there is anything wrong with being unsentimental; nor is their anything wrong with being sentimental. Kumbuyah.

I think there's got to be a bit of give on both sides. It would be nice of you and Marko to do your best to send cards to the people who want to recieve them, but those people also need to recognize that it's not really your thing, and that if you forget to send a card for something or other it doens't mean you don't love them.

I think I'm half sentimental. I like to send cards and notes, but at random times, if I see a picture I think the reciever will like, not for Mother's day, Easter and Hallmark-needs-all-your-money-now Day. Though I do try to keep up with birthdays for out of town family. My MIL is madame Hallmark, and she gets pretty upset if she doesn't get a Mother's day card AND a birthday card (one week apart), actually I think she wants the mothers day one more than the birthday one, which I don't get, but I try to be organized and send two cards. I wish she'd aso realise that "our way" is a little different, and that we still love her!

I get around the overpriced individual card thing by buying a box or two of nice notecards, blank ones with pretty pictures, and then write a short paragraph of a letter inside: "Hope you have a wonderful mother's day, the daffodils are really looking loverly this time of year, I wish you were here to enjoy them with me, your loving daughter-in-law".

Coming from a person who enjoys sentimental things (not overly so, but to a "normal" extent, I think) ... yes, I think it's important to make the effort to do those kinds of things for the people in your life that enjoy/feel strongly about them. Cards, gifts, special occasions aren't about you, but the other person/people and making THEM feel good. Believe me, there are times where I'd like to skip the whole card/gift thing and just tell the person Happy Birthday in person (and sometimes that IS totally o.k.!), but I think it's important to tell the people we care about what they really mean to us. And let's face it, I'm probably not going to sit down, look a person in the face and tell them how much they've meant to me (can you say awkward?!). A gift or a card allows me to really communicate what can-NOT be said too often. At the end of life, you'll never regret taking the time, as annoying as it may be in the moment.

Oh, go with gift bags versus wrapping paper (they can be re-used), nice pre-bought paper versus cards (so you have them at home already and don't have to go out every single time there's an "occasion". It doesn't have to take a lot of time ... "it's the thought that counts". =)

I think it's important that if you are going to recognize an occasion with a gift or card,that it does recognize who the person is that you are giving to. At the same time I think a great gift contains a piece of the person giving it as well. (eg: my sister has an unusual sense of humor and getting a card from her is always good for a laugh because it shares her humor. Another good one: I received a beautiful silver bread tray as a wedding gift from a friend that is infamous for her dietary habit of only bread and candy.)

BUT..........I would not go overboard trying to please someone that is never satisfied and holding everyone emotionally hostage for their gift/card choices!

Maybe a compromise for you would be to choose a magazine that the person would enjoy (as opposed to a card) with a note scrawled on the cover..."Happy Bday, thought you would enjoy this!"

One last thought; I for one would not like to receive something sentimental if it did not come from the heart; in other words, if it were only to please me and not a true sentiment from the person--i find that a little, or a lot patronizing.

As in everything...balance...

Ok, one more thought...certainly you must have fond thoughts for the person that you are in the dog house over...if so, maybe a letter from you sharing those thoughts and also reminding her that "prepackaged sentiment" is not your style, maybe you both can accept and respect your differences. You'll try to be a little sentimental occasionally and maybe she can believe that a gift card truly is what you would appreciate the most by way of gifts for you.

I don't know if this is assvice you don't want or not but if its a matter of keeping track and convenience, I have a perpetual calendar (no days, just the dates) that I fill in birthdays, anniversaries, special days then I go out once a month or every two and buy up what I need for cards.

I also try to really add every birthday that might come up in conversation(even work people and acquaintances that I wouldn't send a card to). People are usually very touched when they get a verbal Happy Birthday from someone they don't expect to.

I say screw the cards. (although I am in an asshole-ish mode today I do admit) I have gone on card-giving-strike. And if my hubby totally twists my arm, say because MIL will have a stroke if we don’t give her a card, then I pop into the dollar store. I just REFUSE now to spend $3 - $7 on a card. People don't even keep them. That's extra money that you could have spent on their gift.

AND now my SIL-to-be has followed my lead and thanked me for starting this new trend in our family. Turns out that others were thinking the same thing, but were too afraid to be the one who didn’t buy a damn card.

I do give gifts for people who generally reciprocate. Not because I am a selfish bitch. But because for years and years I gave gifts to EVERYONE and then when most people don’t reciprocate I get my feelings crushed. So I definitely go the trouble of finding the perfect gift for people who actually care about me.

I love gift bags!!! You can totally reuse them and it’s OK. I have a tote in my linen closet with gift bags sorted by theme. Xmas, birthdays, babies, plain etc… And I have a bag filled with saved tissue paper (sorted by color of course) ready for reuse. Love it!!!

My exceptions:
- I do send xmas cards. That's just one time a year and its part of xmas for me.
- I wrap with wrapping paper for kids’ presents only because they love to rip into it.

I haven't had a chance to read all the comments, so forgive me if i'm repeating anything.

My husband and I are exactly like you and Marko - not a bit sentimental. My husband's mother and sister are very very sentimental. For years this drove me insane and either I bought something b/c I felt I was obligated or I just plain forgot and felt guilty b/c I knew they knew we missed their special occassion.

Then about 4yrs ago I was introduced to the book 'The Five Love Languages'. The premise is quite simple - everyone has a primary love language that they use to express their love and understand they are loved when people communicate love in return. The five languages are quality time, physical touch, gifts, words of affirmation, and acts of service.

The question to ask yourself is when do I feel most loved by another. Is it when they hug/kiss me? When they cook me dinner? When we take a walk together? When they bring me flowers? When they say how beautiful I am? etc, etc, etc.

Now most people naturally show their love in their native love language. If you show your love for them in a different language they don't necessarily understand. It would be like if I said 'I love you' in Chinese - you'd only understand if you understood Chinese.

So when we have different love languages than people we are close with (spouses, children, family, friends) there is great potential for miscommunication.

When I finally understood this it became much easier for me to make an effort to send cards or gifts to my mil and sil. And in general for people whose love language is 'gifts', the actual gift is often not all that important, but the effort and acknowledgement is what really matters.

If your interested, you should check out either 'Five Love Languages' or 'Five Love Languages of Children' by Gary Chapman. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1881273156/sr=8-1/qid=1152133391/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-8961798-3456061?ie=UTF8

Also, even though neither you or Marko are gift kind of people, it is an interesting exercise to identify both of your love languages. Plus I know how you love these self-evaluation type of things :-)

Growing up we didn't have a lot of money, but my mom always made sure a fuss was made over us on any gift giving holiday. It's the fussing over that I still long for and try to give to others.
Despite the fact that I like to make a fuss, I don't really expect a fuss, except from my poor unfortunate husband. I always hope that he'll do something to surprise/delight me on a gift giving occassion. He is a wonderful person, who every day does lovely things for me like cooking dinner, getting me a glass of water even when I can easily get it myself, etc... and yet I still hope for that extra fuss from him.
I feel guilty about it, however, because despite the fact that he is totally not sentimental and requires no fuss, he has tried to adapt to my need for a fuss over the years and works very hard to please me. Unfortunately, being the spoiled brat that I am, I still end up crying on gift giving occassions. Like when he gives me things like a water filtering pitcher so that I'll drink more water, or the year that he gave me a blue vase for every gift giving occassion.

I am SO sentimental it's not even funny. Not in a way that requires cards and gift wrap but more in the way that I'd rather have a gift from the heart that someone got with me in mind than anything else. My mom gives me fabric occasionally, which I love, because she taught me my passion for sewing. For his birthday a year ago, my mom gave Sarge small scraps of fabric...they were pieces she'd cut to make him one of the most beautiful and sentimental quilts I've ever seen. He loves it. A gift certificate could never compare to the hours my mom put into that quilt.

Friendship is a two-way street. While I do think you should indulge your friends in their sentimentality, I also think they need to bend toward you a little since they know you are not sentimental. For me, the perfect compromise between gift wrap and none is using a gift bag. That way your friend can save them and use them over and over. Still pretty but nothing gets destroyed. Cards...I could go either way. When I was little we made tags out of leftover gift wrap and taped them to the present. All it takes is a pair of scissors and a pen.

On the other hand, I love buying for people like you. If it is a gift certificate you want, it's a gift cert. you'll get. I'm not going to waste time trying to find a gift you'll love when you've already told me what to get! The only time I would deviate from that request (in which case my other present would be in addition to the gift card) would be if I saw something that screamed "Tertia!" at me. Then I'd get you both things.

Hope that helped! I think the biggest step in this case is caring enough to want to do the right thing by your friends. And you're already there.

holiday shmoliday.....
my husband and I are lots alike also, we are not sentimental
I don't like to give "routine gifts" because I feel like its more of an obligation....not something really meaningful
something else to add to your list of crap to do

here's a question what do you do with the kids...... here we have the santa thing and easter bunny
are these just sentimental too?

Okay so I didn't read anything above (sorry) so this may be a repeat...but it is how I am.

I like cards, I don't care about gift-wrap unless I am wrapping the gift and then I like to do it but I would never require that someone wrap a gift for me. My favorite gift is a gift certificate; I don't understand why my family won't believe me when I say so (The Duke bought me a lovely purse for christmas last year and filled all the pockets with gift cards...oh how I adore that man)

Many of my friends are not into the card/gift thing and my husband usually throws away the cards I give to him...I don't care at all if the people I wrap gifts for or give cards to keep them, it makes me feel good to do it and that is all that counts to me. On the same side of the token I don’t expect anything more from my friends/family then a “Happy (insert occasion here)”

I would much rather spend the time getting a great gift (or gift card) for someone and sinking a little extra into it rather than blowing a few more bucks on a card. I reuse gift bags if they are in good shape (and both of my boys are trained not to destroy the gift bags!). In my husband's family, everyone makes a HUGE deal over the cards, passes them around at the party and all, and then they THROW THEM AWAY. Hello, I am NOT spending money on a card just to watch you chunk it in the trash.

So, here's what we do. The 7 year old makes our cards. We give him paper and markers, write a few of the words out for him (so he can spell them where someone else can read them) and them let him have at it. Keeps him busy, its basically free, and we give a nice, personal card!

Now, if it is something like a bridal shower or a baby shower, I might make a really nice card or even splurge and buy one, but this RARELY happens. I just can't see spending that money on cards.

My husband, though, is the quintessential card-giver. At Mother's Day, I got a card from each boy, a card from him and a card from the DOG! Overkill in my book, but it was sweet. However, in the back of my mind, I see $10-$12 that could have been added to my spa gift card!

Don't have the answers to your questions, but I do hate cards as well. I rarely buy them, what a waste of money. Like you said, get me a magazine any time. Or a candy bar, anything! The nice thing you will realize when your kids are just a bit older is you can have them make a card for just about free! Have them do a drawing and sign their name - relatives love that kind of stuff. Even before they can write, have them do a little scribble and you can sign their names. And never buy cards for kids' parties, always have your children make them.

I'm with you. I'd much rather get a gift cert thrust into my hands than a lavish package with lots and lots of waste. I must admit I will keep cards, but only if there was something personal written in them. Otherwise, in the trash/recycling they go. As for dealing with others, unless I see something that screams out that it's perfect for them, I do gift cards. I'll only do cards if I have something to write in them, otherwise I'll use a piece of wrapping paper or maybe one of those gift bags that has the little card on it.

I think if it is important to them, then you should take it seriously. Wouldn't you want the same in return? (them to take something you feel is important seriously)

It irritates you when they won't listen and get you a card and a gift instead of a gift certificate, well I'm sure it's the same for them, but it not only irritates them. Apparently it hurts them when you don't listen and you don't get the card and gift. Maybe if you did what they wanted (gift and card), then they'd be more apt to do what you want (gift certificate).

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you..........follow their wishes.

I stopped doing cards a few years ago. Stopped cold. It was just before Father's Day and I stood there with about $25 worth of cards, for my dad, for his dad, for my husband from the kids, for grandpa from the kids. It was ludicrous. So I stopped. I recently found out that a family member is rather resentful that I don't send cards for the kids' birthdays. I really don't care. I still get them gifts but I just think cards are a waste on all fronts.

I do like to wrap a nice present where kids are concerned mostly because I love to see their excitement, the anticipation, the tearing it open.

I don't save things like baby teeth or locks of hair or - yuck - ambilical cord stumps. YUCK. So I know that I'm much less sentimental than many.

I am married to a very rather mushy and sentimental man and sometimes it's a struggle. I do try to indulge his need for romance and sentimentality and he tries not to misinterpret my need for practicality. We do ok. I guess that's the same approach I would take with others close to me... try to make their sorts of gestures every now and then and ask them to please accept me as I am at the same time and understand when I DON'T make those gestures...

I'm sentimental, but if you were in my family and felt that your time/money could be better spent in other ways (magazine instead of a card, "nice meal of a cup of coffee together" instead of a gift or birthday celebration), I would understand.

However, if you simply did neither -- no card or gift, but no expressed invitation to go out to coffee either, I would eventually be bothered by it.

I am somewhat sentimental. I like to receive small gifts and cards and her in South Dakota you can by cards rather cheap but what I really appreciate is when people make me things and I totally agree with gift certificates. They are wonderful gifts.

A phone call is also something I highly appreciate or a nice email expressing interest in me and the family. I think it is important to be considerate of people's feelings whether or not you agree with them or think the same way.

I sort of like you. I don't really do cards much, and if I do, they are often handmade because at least those have some thought in them. I do try to remember to call on birthdays' but I'm not always that good about it. But, here's your golden opportunity to redeem yourself. MY birthday is on the 11th. Send me an electronic card and I'll post about it and then everyone will know what a thoughtful friend you are. Everyone wins! :-)

I haven't commented in ages, but this one caught my eye, and plus I actually have a few minutes to myself! :) So, here are my two cents. There is a book written called the 5 Love Languages. It's about how people get and receive love. If you want people to know that you love them you have to speak in a language that speaks to them, not you. For them to receive love they have to be the focus and center of it. So, if sentimental things are important to those you love, and you want them to know how you truly love them, then participate in their sentiments. If you don't they receive it as a lack of love, even if you try to redeem yourself in other ways.

I like wrapping gifts. I think it is fun but hate to see it discarded. People could reuse it to give me gifts! I don't mind!

I arranged a baby shower last weekend. I bought lovely tasteful wrapping paper all the way from NYC. The present pile looked super, it co-ordinated. Do you think anyone gave a toss. Not a bit! What a waste of money. I tried to salvage it but it was all ripped and torn. Next time, recycled paper or brown wrapping paper with string.

In general anyone that I see or live close to (i.e anyone in Hong Kong) does not get a birthday or Christmas card, they get a text, email or call. Only those overseas might and definately if they are the generation above or more.It might not even be a birthday card but a post-card.

My mother decorates gifts with sprigs of rosemary or lavender from the garden. I always liked that idea!

But I certainly would not pay a site like amazon to wrap a gift. The brown packaging should be enough fun to open!
I had a close friend and we always knew what the other wanted and so the non-birthday person could always 99% ensure that all gifts received were what was wanted. Now we no longer live in the same place and now have to put up with weird presents! I sometimes want to ask "Why did you buy that for me? What made you think I would wear something like this? Have you ever ever seen me in something like this!?" It really baffles me sometimes!

I love the magazine idea!

Gift vouchers! Yeah! Had them as a kid and loved them!

You guys sound just like me and my husband. The only time we get gifts for eachother is birthdays & christmas but we also share finances so we tell eachother exactly what we want. Luckily my husband has good taste so I don't have to be too specific with clothes other than nice shirts or t-shirts or jeans. We never bother with anniversary cards or presents (dinner & a shag is about right). We never wrap birthday presents but we do with christmas, only for decoration purposes. When it comes to our families we'll send gifts to our parents for christmas and cards at birthdays. We send out general chrsitmas cards to everyone else, or they might get random gifts if they're lucky. They know better than to expect anything from us. I guess I'm pretty lucky to have found someone like me in this regard too.

Gifts are hard, that is why most people, myself included, don't like to give them. It is difficult to think of something someone else would like. Of course, that is also what makes a really good gift, someone took the time to find that something special.

My best friend of 25 years and I exchange a small gift every birthday. It is the highlight of my day. It is the only surprise I receive and makes the day feel special even at 38 years old. We put care and thought behind the small gifts, that is what makes them special.

I once dated a thoughtful man who, when he saw small things I would like would give them to me. I loved this quality in him as the small gifts let me know that he was thinking of me.

So sometimes, giving gifts as adults is not ridiculous.

As others have said, the important thing is to remember the gift/thing/occasion is for *the other person* not for you.

I'm also not sentimental, and don't care if I get a card or not (no ooey gooey cards, please!). I don't like getting gifts of clothing because my taste is weird and the item usually doesn't fit. So someone thought they'd get me a gift certificate. Except they got the GC at a store that I would NEVER in a million YEARS shop in! A GC is lovely, if you take the time to think about for whom you are getting the GC.

Any little thing that lets the other person know you are *thinking* about them should work. If you got my favourite magazine and put a ribbon on it with a little note saying, "Happy Birthday for 132 pages!" I'd love it!

It's so hard, because people are unbelievably hyper-sensitive about these things.

If you make a little effort for someone, when you know it matters to them, it can make all the difference in the world. Of course, there are some people you cannot please, no matter what, but if you *can* please them, and you care about them, you should try.

Hi Tertia,
You probably remember that my beloved husband died 9/20/05 just seven weeks after being diagnosed with a vicious cancer, at the tender age of 44. His birthday is this Sunday, 7/9/61. How strange and empty it feels this year, not to search out the perfect gift, find or make the perfect card to somehow try to convey the depth of my love for him (we used to say "infinity plus two!"). I will make him a card anyway, though, and take it to his grave on Sunday.

I ache for him every single day, I sob for him every night. I miss him so terribly. I have been inconsolable, except for the cards my beloved chose for me on special occasions...I need them so much now, to remind me of how much I was loved...he was the only happiness I've ever known. (As you also know, he caused me the greatest unhappiness I've ever known...but somehow, now,it pales in comparison to the love and joy he brought to my life.)

You can cut off my hair, my ears, both arms and legs; but dare try to take my cards away...!

I'm with the sentimentalists; go the extra mile when you can. You never know how much it may mean...


I am sentimental. I love to read the meaning of something almost more than the gift. When you are out(if you ever get out again) and you see something that touches you, buy it and put it away. I have a "Magic Closet" that I keep things in until a holiday or birthday comes up, then I go in, and pull something out. Everyone will not believe how thoughtful, ande it will touch them deeply.

Also hate cards... agree with you 100% - expensive and useless. But... do love to make the odd card here and there. As for you giving cards/wrapping presents... It would be odd if you started doing it now... I have got used to your "quirkiness" (asshole tendencies)

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