Late in December, and specifically over Christmas, I visited my brother, Alexei, in Vancouver. I brought my two youngest daughters, Verity and Ocean. My brother informed me that we would be doing a gift exchange about a month before we came… sometime in November. This stressed me out for a lot of reasons. But in thinking about it, and discussing it with my brother, I thought of a categorization scheme for types of gifts:
These are, simply, gifts that the receiver is likely to find useful. Pots and pans, containers, lawn mowers, etc. If you are buying someone a gift in this category, it helps to know if they actually need it… so these gifts are usually based on need.
This is a gift that you make “by hand” using your own creativity. These are the sorts of gifts that become keepsakes or get put on display for a time. As a giver, these are the gifts that show vulnerability and connection to the receiver. Creating a poem or hand-making a sweater are examples of these types of gifts.
These are the gifts of time which allow both the giver and the receiver to experience something together. The receiver of this type of gift almost always is being exposed to a new experience. Anything as simple as going to a newly-released movie or as complex as a multi-week joint vacation to a new place fall into this category.
Fun gifts are meant to bring a smile or laugh to the receiver. Fun gifts are often the least personal and can be considered a “backup plan” if you are struggling to figure out what type of gift to get someone. Generally speaking, fun gifts are disposable or re-giftable.
So what did I get my brother and his family this past Christmas? Well, I tried to make it cover as many categories as possible… so I got him an AnyCubic Photo S 3D Printer, and I helped him print a custom wedding ring he had designed many years ago. Useful (at least potentially), experiential (because of working on getting it running and printing the ring together), and personal. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s used it since I was there 10 weeks ago!