It is better to give than to receive…

00402539…especially when what you’re receiving is a last minute gift lifted from a big box store by a mediocre boyfriend. True story.

When I was younger and dumber I dated someone even younger and dumber than I was. He’d been dropping hints like crazy about what he wanted for Christmas – a boxed DVD set of his favorite action movie series. It wasn’t the most expensive gift I’ve ever given anyone, but it wasn’t what I’d call cheap either. His gift to me was. Cheap, that is.

Now I know all the adult concepts surrounding gift giving. It’s the thought that counts, better to give than to receive, yada yada yada. That Christmas, younger and dumber than me got me a CD. Not a CD player, a CD. It was a new release, so I guess I should have been more excited. I wasn’t.

It wasn’t that the CD was only about $10 – I’ve gotten hand-written notes I’ve valued far more. And it wasn’t that mediocre-boyfriend worked at an electronic superstore and probably grabbed the CD off the shelf on his way out to meet me that evening. Ok, maybe it was that. But what really got to me was that he, in essence, had asked for an expensive gift knowing all along that he had no intention of getting me anything in return. Petty? I don’t think so. His gift giving tendencies turned out to be an accurate indicator of his personality and the type of boyfriend he really was. I soon realized that I was dealing with someone who was selfish and more concerned about getting what he wanted than anything else.

Thankfully, now 40 and a little wiser, I’m aware that the biggest mistake I made in that relationship was not in giving an expensive gift to someone who gave little in return, but giving something much more valuable, my heart, to someone who hadn’t earned it.

During this holiday season, amidst all the frenzied gift giving and re-gifting, I’m trying to focus on the gifts we can’t really put a price on. The love of family, trust-worthy friends and the prayers and hopefulness that brings in the new year. I’m wishing the same for all of you. By the way, I still have the CD, the boyfriend however is long gone. As my grandmother would say – “good riddance to bad rubbish!”

Merry Christmas, Happy holidays and here’s to leaving all your bad rubbish behind in 2010!

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Grace is a freelance writer and blogger living in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Lizaf

    I once had a boyfriend who wanted a lot of attention for his birthday. I gave him a surprise party and musical performance with my songwriting duo. When it was time for my birthday, he had to leave our celebration early for a business networking party. Needless to say, I am not married to him today.

  • Anonymous

    Liza – it’s amazing to me that the ones who expect the most often give the least – and not just in terms of expense, but thought, sentiment, etc. Glad you ditched him!