Gifting: Cost does not determine value

A few years ago my dad’s side of the family decided they didn’t want to exchange gifts at Christmas any more. A few years before that we’d gone to an exchange system. Buying things for everyone and then waiting for everyone to open all of the gifts was just unwieldy, even if a group of 10 people. Further, none of us need much, and all of the kids were well into college.

A couple years ago my dad broke the rule and bought something for his sister. It was a very simple gift, but very thoughtful. He bought her an entire case of V-8.

Apparently she had, earlier in the year, mentioned how she wasn’t buying the beverage, finding it difficult to justify the cost. She’s on a fixed income, having been in an automobile accident 20 years ago that left her in constant pain and unable to work. For a lot of us, buying juice won’t seem very taxing on the budget, especially juice for one person. I can assure it wasn’t taxing on my father’s budget, even as much of a self-proclaimed tight-wad as he is.

Yet, it was a very meaningful investment. And yes, my dad was chided for breaking the family rules.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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