See, I was trying to explain to my brother and sister that I'm not a big fan of mandatory gift giving. I think I've given everyone in my family random gifts just because I find something that they'd really like. I then pointed out some of the gifts that I got that were less than thrilling. Nothing terrible and easily stuff I could return if necessary, but I was just trying to say that the whole giving gifts thing shouldn't be such a big production (with all the wrapping and shopping etc...). I'd be happier if someone got me some random neat little dragon decoration or a book that I wanted than if they got me some big huge expensive gift that I didn't really care for (an example of that would be a really ornate armoire, you know something that I don't like, don't need, and can't really just put in a drawer and forget about). Not a big deal, just random talking.
My dad interpreted this to mean that I wanted "better" (i.e. more expensive gifts) and he really started in on me for that. I snapped back trying to defend myself and my position and then I gave up and left the room. It never fails. My father insists on trying to force his philosophy down our throats even though half the time we aren't that far apart in principle. Heck sometimes he's gotten into arguments with me when we're on the same side!!!! I'll try and try to communicate "oh, we're saying the same thing, let's stop arguing" and he'll insist on saying something like "yes, but it's like this...." I'll usually let him have the last word (now) but I feel crummy after these exchanges.
I hate that. In today's little exchange the whole problem was that I guess I do want better gifts but I want them better in the sense that I'd rather only get gifts that indicate that the person giving the gift put some thought into it and didn't just buy something because they "had" to. I'd rather not get a gift than get something that looks like it was just grabbed because nothing else came to mind. I guess in my mind that's a natural extension of "it's the thought that counts" and if that thought is "I have to get something but I really have no idea what he might like and I can't take the time to talk to him to find out" then I would rather skip the thought.
Looking back, I think I've been much more touched by random little gifts that are given just because someone found it and thought of me than the ones I get for Christmas and which feel way too forced. It reminds me just how out of touch my family can be. A lot of times, we don't talk to each other in between the mandatory family gatherings and you can tell by things like gifts. By contrast the gifts that I get for and from my friends feel a lot more natural and they have nicer sentiments attached because 90% of the time the gifts are really cheap, but really spot on and just right. Heck, I've gotten handwritten letters for my birthday that left me feeling a bazillion times better than I do today.
Getting gifts for the sake of getting gifts just sucks.... Man, I miss the good old days when the big concern was what Santa was bringing me and the whole psychology of gift giving didn't even come into things.