Gift-giving is so fraught. You wrap something up in beautiful paper (or use those ever-handy gift sacks with some bright tissue) and you imbue some object with a duty to convey your love and respect. I quit taking gifts seriously a long while ago. When someone gives me something, I thank them and move on. I give my sister and her kids and grandkids money mostly and a few actual gifts that they very specifically ask for through wish lists. My dad sends birthday and Christmas checks to people. He and his sisters exchange these checks. Seems pointless to me.
I bought a couple of calendars at Book People the other day, those page-a-day things with different themes. One I intended for a friend. We often get together with a couple of other friends over the holiday and usually exchange small gifts. I had one of these calendars in mind for her. Then when we were talking on the phone the other day she said we shouldn't buy gifts this year if we did get together. I found another person to give the calendar to and I don't object to a 'no gifts' policy being established for any group of friends or relatives. I hope such things gain a wider foothold. I thought it was ironic that I'd already picked something when she said it, though.
FFP and I often ask at Christmas and birthdays: "What do you want?" Usually we just empower the other to go out and get whatever he/she wants. Yesterday he went out and bought a guitar. He bought a shirt the other day that he's been wearing a lot. (It's festive in a Christmas way with tasteful red and green plaid.) I told him what I wanted was for him to take my car for maintenance. I've been spending so much time at Dad's and hospitals that I haven't had time to go sit and wait for my car or be without my car. He's doing that for me today. I'm waiting at Dad's to help with lunch and watch his PT appointment. So he came out here and left his car and took mine to see if he could get scheduled maintenance, oil change and such done for me.
It feels like a gift having someone else do that car errand for me. There are a couple of physical 'things' I might like to have, too, but right now it just seems like too much trouble to get new things.