Gift Genres

The Many Genres of Gifts

As the holidays are creeping up on us, I thought we could discuss gifts. There are so many different types of gifts to give someone. There’s the sentimental gift, the extravagant gift, the homemade gift, etc. You can even combine these few categories; you have an extravagant sentimental gift or even a sentimental homemade gift.

There are different levels of how personal each type of gift can be. Yes, a homemade gift is most likely the most personal gift you can give, but it doesn’t mean that buying an extravagant gift can’t be personal. Homemade gifts can be very thoughtful, especially if it comes from a child. But, as we get older, homemade gifts aren’t really that common. It would be a little awkward to give a friend, say, a tissue paper flower as a birthday gift.

But, on the other hand, if you are artistically talented, a homemade gift could be absolutely spectacular! It could also be quite a bit cheaper. Personally, I am still on the tissue paper flower level, but I would love to get a gift from someone who is very into art.

Sentimental gifts are another category of gift that many people indulge in. Now, a sentimental gift can be something that is homemade (i.e. those little kid crafts), but it could also be something that is personalized. There are so many ways to personalize gifts nowadays. From Things Remembered to Shutterfly, I can’t think of any easier ways to make a gift so touching and so personal.

Sentimental gifts are, in my opinion, the best gifts to give to family members. You’ve grown up with them; you all know each other so well. So why wouldn’t you make their day and make a magnet on Shutterfly of that embarrassing cousins picture you have? Or that totally candid shot of your uncle flipping off the camera? Sentimental gifts are the ones that we cherish the most and make us laugh and cry.

The extravagant gift is a gift that we all know too well. By “extravagant” I mean big and/or expensive. Everyone has that one relative who doesn’t bother to get to know you, but sends you some expensive (usually hideous) gift for the holidays. That’s not to say that all extravagant gifts are awful! There can be such thing as an extravagant sentimental gift. You could buy someone all of their favorite candies and make them into a portrait of sorts (sentimental, homemade, and extravagant!).

Unfortunately, the majority of extravagant gifts seem thoughtless. It is as if people who give these gifts are compensating for their lack of sentimentality. If you really don’t know the person you are getting a gift for, don’t try SO hard! Money is always a great alternative.

It all boils down to how well you know the person you’re buying the gift for. If you are pretty good friends with the person, I would say a good mix of sentimental and extravagant would be appropriate. If the gift is for family, sentimental is the way to go (unless, of course, it’s like your second cousin’s step-dad’s child from his sixth marriage. If that’s the case, just go for the money).

For acquaintances, I would say to go with something basic. If you really want to get the person a gift rather than a gift card or money, I would go with something liked by pretty much everyone. Universal gifts could be something such as perfumes/colognes.

My personal preference for gifts is a sentimental gift. I think it may be because I really haven’t gotten many sentimental gifts in my life. I am a gift fanatic and I will spend a lot of time, effort, and money on getting someone the perfect gift. Gifts are given to make someone feel special and to let them know how loved they are; this is especially true for birthdays. So much can be said through a gift, that’s why I always pressure myself into getting the right one for each person. Lewis Carroll said, “There are 364 days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents.” So, for that one day, you better make it spectacular.