Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Givers

Now that gift giving season is here, it’s a good time to examine different types of gift givers. The following is a thoughtful, researched examination, formulated through 39 years of being a discriminating gift receiver. 

Types of Gift Givers*

The “What Do You Want?” Giver

This Giver category is fairly easily recognized. If a holiday approaches and someone asks you what you want and then buys it for you, she is a WDYW Giver. This Giver’s focus is getting you something you really desire. Her nearly obsessive devotion to this may or may not come from a gift-giving insecurity (“What if they don’t like what I got them? HORRORS!”). Even if the WDYW Giver’s motivation is a Golden Retriever-like desire to please, it still results in you getting exactly what you want, which is never a bad thing. Unless what you want is crack. Then all bets are off.

Really ardent WDYW Givers fit in a sub-category called “If You Don’t Like It You Can Take It Back.” Some Givers in this genre carry the gift’s receipt with them or tape it to the back of the gift. This is really handy, but it may or may not be considered crass by those who focus on the sentiment of the gift giving season rather than the acquisition of material items (wussies).

The “I Know What You Want” Giver

This Giver shops for things she thinks you should want based on her estimations of your needs and/or lifestyle. Sometimes this works out well and you discover that you enjoy something new or that makes your life easier. Much of the time, this tactic simply provides you with a gift you hate. Extra aggravating is the giver who does this and doesn’t fall into the IYDLIYCTIB sub-category mentioned above. Unfortunately, this occurs quite often with IKWYW Givers, who are damn sure that you need what they gave you.

The “I Wish I Had This Myself” Giver

This category is pretty much self explanatory. It would be a billion times better if the IWIHTM Giver just bought the damn item for herself and gave you an iTunes gift card.

Perfectionist Packers

Any of the previous three types of givers might fall into the “Perfectionist Packer” category. PPs search long and hard for the perfect birthday card and match it with fancy wrapping paper. They spend hours curling bows or otherwise making presentation a priority. You almost hate to unwrap some of these gifts. Acknowledgement of the wrapping job pre-destruction is important if you want please a PP. And you do want to please them, because they are tenacious grudge-holders with impressive knife-wielding skills.

The “Oh Shit” Giver

The OS Giver really meant to buy you a nice present. She just ran out of time and remembered her need to purchase something about an hour before she was supposed to give it to you. Unfortunately, perpetual OS Givers are always surprised by birthdays and other gift-giving occasions (the annual nature of most of these events is somehow lost on them).

Usually, OS Givers are well-intentioned. They really wanted to get you something neat. They just suck at time-management (or maybe they are just scatterbrained). You know you have been gifted by an OS Giver when you receive odd or awkward items that can generally be purchased at a convenience store.

The “Don’t Give a Shit” Giver

This Giver knows that she needs to get you something. She’s just got better things to do than to put any effort into buying it. As a result, DGAS Givers buy you a present at wherever they happen to be shopping while fulfilling their own needs. You can track their recent shopping expeditions based on the item you unwrap. Set of markers or tube of paint and a brush? Ms. DGAS must have needed to purchase some craft supplies for her hobby (never mind that you are as artistically talented as a watermelon). A can of mixed nuts and an assortment of cheeses? Ah, it must have been grocery shopping day. A toothbrush and some floss stamped with a dentist’s name? Dental appointment time (and a bonus for the DGAS Giver, since she got those for free).

DGAS Givers are never PPs. They are likely to give you your gift in a plastic grocery bag with a knot tied at the top. Maybe.

We've all been an occasional OS Gift Givers (no?), and, to be honest, we've probably all dabbled in some of the other categories as well. Sometimes you have to buy a gift for a particular bitch co-worker and you just want to grab something and be done with it. And who hasn't tried to think outside the box and purchase something you think someone else might need rather than what she has asked for? Surprises can be nice, right? But with this list of Gift Giving types, you can now be aware of your general gift giving habits and adjust your behavior however you see fit. 

I wish you the happiest of holidays and as few DGAS gifts as possible. 

What's the worst gift you have ever gotten? Tell me in the comments below!

*In this article, all gift givers are referred to as “she.” We all know that men suck at gift-giving. It’s a scientific fact. **

**No it’s not. I just didn’t want to write “he/she” a bunch of times. That’s just damn aggravating.

(Thoughtful or lazy?)------------------------------------------------------------------------>


  1. I've pretty much been all types other than a PP or a DGAS. Worst gift I ever got was a food processor from my husband....household appliances make the worst gifts, don't you think? Even when I've gotten horrible clothing, it's not as painful as the implied "you should need this appliance because you should be a better cook/housekeeper/whatever".

  2. I've never, ever been a PP. I'm pretty sure I've DGASed though, although I've usually tried to make it seem like I cared. Gotta keep up appearances, right? :)

    Appliances... well, if you asked for one, that's one thing. But otherwise, yeah, no fun at all.

    I honestly can't think of the worst gift I've ever received. I don't have much of a memory for that kind of thing. I guess that's good, but then I also don't remember the good gifts either. LOL!

  3. LOL. Perfect for the season. As a near temperament/personality test addict, i couldn't resist finding my blend.
    I am a combination OS/WDYW giver, with the gift wrapping habits of a DGAS giver. I have recently come to the realization that nothing says "I love you" quite like "Here's a gift card, pick out your own crap," which is a method that suits both my OS & WDYW sides. I feel like Walmart would sell more gift bags if they were right by the checkout stand rather than across the store... they should know I'm in a hurry on the way to bday parties, and if I did happen to buy a non-giftcard gift, I'm not going to have time to shop for both the gift AND the wrapping and still make it before the party is half-over. (Half-over still counts as making it to your party, I always say.)

  4. Husband just asked if I was making fun of someone in particular in part of this post. Absolutely not! I tried to make fun of all types of gift givers fairly equally. I'm sure I've been all of them at one time or another :)