What the heck is going on with gratitude these days?
Everyone thinks a gift is the only way to show appreciation.
If you give a gift then it seems necessary that you get one in return.
Used to be if you went to a wedding, you brought a celebratory gift for the happy couple and you got a piece of cake in return.
Maybe some peanuts and some good punch.
Now you get pens, candy, jars of honey, bottles of water, candles, lip balm and your name in a drawing for a new car.
Just kidding about the last one.
But seriously, what?
Kids birthday parties offer a smorgasbord of gifts.
You send your kid to a party with a G.I. Joe or Barbie gift and they come home with prizes for winning (or losing) pin the tail on the donkey.
There are gifts at the place setting while they wait for cake,
a treat bag full of candy, small toys to be brought home and stepped on with barefeet in the dark, a silly straw, balloons AND a tummy ache from ice cream and cake received in massive quantities, given out of gratitude for your gift.
You go see your dentist, and they give you floss, toothbrushes and toothpaste, stickers and a reminder for your next appointment.
Does that mean they think you need these things? Or it's just a 'keep up the good work' gift?
Now I don't believe for one minute they pass these things out to prevent tooth decay, thereby making their job unnecessary, it's a gift, so you'll think they love having you there and you'll forget you paid for that wimpy toothbrush with your $150.00 x-ray.
Now the Santa-cookie thing has been going on for decades and I never really understood it.
He brings the whole family gifts, we're talking boocoodles of things, and in gratitude we leave out 3 cookies and a glass of milk.
He comes back every year for this exchange?
Give a gift, get a gift I guess, no matter how unequally financed.
Let's also observe the gift rules on the dating scene.
At least what I understand about it in the media.
After a few or just one date, the young folks sleep with each other, as a way to say thank-you?
Let me ponder.....'I like you and I am so grateful that you would spend 3 hours of your valuable time with a scum sucking waste of space like me that I will risk diseases, infections, death, possible embarrassment and/or pregnancy to thank-you for my cheeseburger'.
If the date was that good, how bout just another date, tickets to an athletic event or a box of good chocolates?
That's about as equal as the Santa exchange.
This is a hard rule!
Going as a guest to someone else's home for lunch or dinner puts me in a fit of the shakes.
What kind of hostess gift do I bring?
(Yes I could say 'host gift' here as well, but let's go with my most recent frame of reference)
Will I bring something she has 6 of already?
Does my gift cost more or less than the meal?
Will she even expect anything?
It can't be a food gift or she will think I don't like her cooking.
It can't be wine or liquor 'cause some folks don't like what I like or they don't even drink at all.
A candle perhaps? Now she thinks that I think her house smells funny.
Flowers? What...now her house is too ugly?
Why am I trading gifts for food?
If I bring an extra thoughtful gift, could we swap it for the rug in the hall that I have always admired instead of the chicken salad?
I am just clueless about this.
Is it the rule now, of American culture, that if you get a gift you have to give a gift?
It makes my brain hurt.
How about a nice Thank-you note?
How about the fact that most people just like each other and want to spend TIME with each other?
Does a reciprocated gift ensure the friendship?
Am I so ancient and out of touch that my concept of reality has run naively rampant and unchecked long enough for me to believe that if I invite you to do something with me that I want no gifts, no anything, except for YOU to be with me?
I get the fact that gifts are nice now and then.
Thats what birthdays, Christmas and being in love is for.
But I am going crazy and broke keeping up with this other stuff.
Everything we do or accomplish does not deserve a gift, an award, a prize or a trophy.
It boggles my mind.
Should we get together, face to face, and talk about it?
Work it out over lunch?
Maybe, but I don't think so.
Even though your thoughts would be invaluable, the getting together part might involve a gift of some kind.
I'll just stay home and blog about it.
No gifts necessary.
Thanks for being here.
Jeplen with the remnants of too many gifts.