The last few days the office has been awash in chocolate and other goodies from vendors and clients. It’s kind of a wonderful time of year for that, and for the most part we all enjoy it. I also typically give my direct reports a small gift, usually a gift card of some sort wrapped in a sweater, pair of socks, mug, or candy I know they enjoy. No reciprocation is expected.
However, there was a time when I had a receptionist working for me who would purchase a gift for me every birthday and holiday, although she really could not afford to do so. Frequently it was something from Bath & Body works or some little mug or trinket from the dollar store. I was raised it is the thought that counts, and while I tried to encourage her NOT to give me anything, she persisted. I always try to be a gracious recipient, even if it is something I cannot or will not ever consume or utilize. Never would I say to M or anyone else that the gift was “junk” or cheap crap. I appreciate that she tried for whatever reason.
This week, today, I am hearing disparaging remarks from people around me and reading it all over the place in various online blogs. I am a chocolate snob and will foist off milk and and white chocolate. Or I received inferior and smelly lotions and soaps and such and will have to regift or pitch them. The gifts consisted of dollar store crap. And on and on it goes.
I understand people receive things they do not want or do not need. I imagine many or all discourage people from giving them things they do not want or need. However, it is Christmas or some other gifting type occasion. Maybe the person cannot affor much else, but really wanted to experience the joy of giving. Can we not be gracious in our receiving?
This is my year of giving actual gifts to my children and their significant others. While I am hopeful they like what I have selected for them, my feelings are unlikely to be injured if they return the items in favor of something else. My hope is they will share the replacement choices with me, so I can learn something new and enjoy what they actually ended up receiving from me. Even if they take the shirts and slacks and come back with a new blender, I believe they appreciate my efforts. Maybe I completely miss the mark from a taste standpoint, or maybe they just do not need another shirt or pair of jeans. Hopefully, and I have to believe this is true, I have raised my children better and they can be gracious in receiving the item, appreciate the thought behind it.
Is a blog an avenue to share our innermost thoughts, including that we are crass and have higher expectations for what we receive at the holidays? Teachers receive gifts from students all the time, and surely they do not like everything. In our business we receive a lot of stuff from a lot of different sources, most of it delicious and fattening and unhealthy to varying degrees. I, personally, also receive some splendid gifts from vendors, most of which I share but some of which I like and take home to share with M. I make it a point to thank each vendor for each gift, because it’s appropriate to do so, even if I do not particularly care for what I received. Is that wrong now?
Perplexing, what I perceive as lack of common courtesy and good manners. And so sad in this season of joy.