“It’s that time of the year!” — Archies Gift Shop, on Christmas.

I am one of those people who dread Santa Claus for very conveniently outsourcing his *only* job in the world to us lesser mortals under the label of Secret santa — gifting! Now, as much as I love receiving and giving gifts, it’s the sheer pressure of finding *that perfect gift* (or in case you are a prolific WhatsApp forwarder — *that perfect GIF*) on *that special occasion* which gives me the jitters.

I am all for making people feel special, but since when did giving x number of gifts (where x = no. of birth years) become a norm? I once did that for a former partner and as much as I loved being the proud recipient of the #BestBFEver title, I think it has drained me enough to deprive all my future partners of the luxury (and myself of the title, *sigh*).

To be honest, I thoroughly enjoy the process of putting in efforts, thoughts and resources working on a gift — it is a great reflective exercise for me. An occasion that genuinely demands for one is like a great halt — you stop, evaluate your relationship with the person, feel nostalgic sometimes, think of all the good, bad and meh times you have spent together, and times you wish they were around and so on.

It’s like gifting someone makes you gift yourself that precious time, memories and the beautiful feeling that nostalgia is. I find the best gifts are the ones you receive when you least expect them. What I find pointless is going through the grind only because it’s a specific <insert random-ness> day — it almost feels like giving into peer pressure. As if it’s a capitalist conspiracy to make me feel that I am not gifted enough at gifting.

Call me an old-schooler, but the most precious gifts I hold dear are someone’s time when I most need it; a note, when I need someone’s words to comfort me; a pat on the back means more than any motivational quote; a call when something reminds them of me (and not necessarily on my birthday); a simple text saying I am thinking of you (and not a Season’s greeting, which hold little or no value); etc — all this, without asking for it — that’s gift for me.

While I was writing this, a colleague shared how there is a theory that there is always a string attached to gifts. That you can never part away completely (or vice versa) from an object and it always has a part of you. Bingo! The gifter and giftee should engage in something as intimate and precious a human feeling as that when they truly feel so and not because Archies said so.

*Receives reminder about Secret Santa Party at office* *Wears Secret Santa’s thinking cap on* *Hmm*

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