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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, October 03, 2023

College 101: Grandiose Gifting

I could desperately use some help. My boyfriend’s birthday is soon approaching, and I don’t have any decent gift ideas yet. His present last year was a Lego Collector’s Edition of the Millenium Falcon, which he loved. Deciding to get that was easy, because he’d lost his mind over it when we visited Legoland last year.

I wasn’t so lucky this year around. He hasn’t mentioned anything noteworthy, nor have I seen him get overly excited about anything specific. Sports are a big deal to him. He’s a die-hard Jets and Yankees fan. Video games, fantasy football, movies, skiing, wakeboarding, and paintball are some of his other hobbies.

The possibilities are basically endless, but I feel like I can’t really top last year. What should I do?

This sounds like a situation fraught with anxiety. There’s no doubt that finding the ideal gift for that special someone takes significant forethought. Fortunately, authors and digital peddlers across the internet have dedicated precious time and effort to aiding consumers just like you. This Huffington Post blogger shared her 9 tips guaranteed to help you find the perfect gift. Others prefer to take the opposite approach and advise you on what not to do when gift giving.

Suffice it to say that almost everyone has an opinion. The tradition of gift giving is itself quite a fascinating practice that’s followed us throughout history. Humans, being the social creatures we are, disproportionately emphasize the value of such exchanges. What we choose to give to one another holds symbolic meaning that often transcends the object itself.

Researchers have written at length about the psychology behind gift giving and generosity, concluding that contrary to conventional economic wisdom, “people more often than not incur costs themselves in order to allocate benefits to others.” While you might at first interpret the word “cost” literally, there’s reason to believe that the cost incurred by gift givers is not limited exclusively to finances. The long story, short: experts now acknowledge that gift giving can induce serious anxiety in certain individuals.

That means you should approach the activity with a deliberate mindset and realistic expectations. It’s crucial to remember that your boyfriend is still likely to celebrate your relationship together regardless of how much he appreciates his gift. Don’t fret too much over a gift discarded shortly after it’s been received. If the notion of a rejected gift still remains unsettling, then you should explore the possibility of sharing an experience together.

The idea of investing in a shared experience isn’t all that novel. Items we have in our possession hold fleeting value, whereas we cherish positive memories forever. This is especially appealing for those in a romantic relationship. You could even consider blending the best of both worlds. Tapping into his natural sports affinity is a sound strategy. For example, have you looked into fantasy football rings? That in combination with a pair of game day tickets to one of his favorite sports teams would probably exceed any and all birthday expectations.

“I’ts not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” -- Mother Teresa

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