The New Luxury: The Pleasures of Giving

By Regina Connell.

The holiday “giving” season is finally, blissfully, playing itself out. The moment brings with it a sense of relief, smugness, and finally, some time to reflect—over a festive negroni, please—on how to improve it. Because [spoiler alert] the gifting season isn’t just a season.

image courtesy of Megumi Inouye

image courtesy of Megumi Inouye

Think back. Ever give anyone a gift because you just had found them something that meant something to the two of you, something personal, something that acknowledged that you’d heard them or knew them? Remember how it felt? Remember how your givee smiled and laughed and maybe even had a tear in their eye? That’s what giving should feel like. So why doesn’t it?

Now you might be one of those people (you know who you are) for whom holiday “gifting” involves going to one of the mass luxury stores, picking out a bunch of tchotchkes, getting them wrapped (making sure the logo on the box is clear) and passing them out. Or you might be like my ex-husband who used to go from random store to random store on whatever street he’s on at 3 pm on Christmas eve, buy stuff, then ask me to wrap it. If you are in either of these categories, stop reading now. This post is not for you.

But if somewhere, in the far recesses of your brain, there rattles the notion that giving should be a lot more pleasurable for both you and your recipient alike, put your feet up and read on.

image courtesy of Mandy Aftel

image courtesy of Mandy Aftel

The problem with gifting is that it feels forced and, like most things in life, that’s a pleasure killer. Stand in even the most wonderful store in December, and you can just feel the anxiety rise: what to get, how much to spend, and are you too late to get it all there in time. Then your partner’s there in the corner, tapping his toes, somewhere a toddler begins to scream, and you see the parking enforcement sharks circle.  (The experience is the same online, but the parking enforcement types are work emails or FB notifications.) You grab some lowest common denominator object, get in line, whip out that card and mark something off the list: the high point of the experience. Sad.

Then you go home. You wrap the gift in whatever’s handy, you go to the party, hand over the gift, and feel relief. Then, you look at what you received, smile, give thanks, and wonder what they were thinking. Going home, it hits you… perhaps they’re thinking the same way? Sadder yet.

It’s time for a rethink. Giving well is giving pleasure with pleasure. Life’s too short otherwise…

For all the rest and more on our version of the new luxury, wander on over to AltLuxe.


The New Luxury:

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