It was my Dad’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, and after some thought and some time on the Amazon website I decided to buy him the History of the World in 100 Objects book; I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the radio series (via podcast, which I listen to while looking at a photo of the object in question on the website) and knew my Dad would like it too. And I was right – the book was so very much his cup of tea that my sister had already given it to him for Christmas.
Oh, and his other two birthday presents – from my Mum and my sister – were identical to each other.
This happens quite a lot in my family: my Mum and my sister have given me the same book, a year or so apart; and one Christmas my parents bought each other the same book, which caused a lot of amusement when they unwrapped their gifts simultaneously. I’ve always taken this phenomenon to mean that we just know each other very well and have similar tastes, but lately I’ve been wondering if it doesn’t signify a general lack of creativity in the gift ideas department.
Finding creative and thoughtful presents for people I’ve known for multiple birthdays and Christmases is almost as difficult as coming up with good topics for posts after six years of blogging. Strangely enough, though, I’ve started having the same problem with people I haven’t known for very long at all – possibly because even if I haven’t given that particular person a book or some nice earrings or concert tickets or a spa gift certificate before, I’ve given so many books and nice pairs of earrings and concert tickets and spa gift certificates to other people over the years that it just feels like it’s been done and I’m being boring.
(Kids are the exception. Buying for kids is always AWESOME. I may or may not have once bought one of our nephews a marble run game just because I wanted to play with it. And a suspicious amount of very cool Lego has been purchased over the last few years. Don’t judge me!)
As a recipient, though, I really don’t mind getting the same kinds of gift every year – I’m thrilled to receive as many books, pairs of socks, fancy soaps, earrings, gift certificates, and fancy food items as people want to give me. Especially books – I’d rather have the occasional duplication than have no-one ever buy me books again. I’d prefer it if my Mum would stop buying me clothes, but that’s not going to happen and it’s no great hardship to have a few items set aside for “Sunday Skyping only”.
So, while I’ll continue to try and think of new, exciting, and creative ideas (suggestions in the comments, please!), I guess I’ll also try to feel better about the times when inspiration doesn’t strike… like with my Dad’s replacement gift: A History of the World in Twelve Maps. (Oooooh, I’m so very original). I’ll feel especially good about these times if the non-creative ideas come with one-click buying and free shipping!