gift, present, or… lagniappe?

last roll 053

Of course we’ve argued it: the differences between a "gift" and a "present." One’s more selfish than the other, Phil says. One is something you’d like but give to another; it’s something you want them to have vs. something they’d want to have. It’s like giving a child cute clothes instead of a drum set. You know what I say? Beggars can’t be choosers, so shut the hell up. Enjoy your gift or your present, or just return the thing or re-gift it.

FYI from the Oxford American Dictionary: What’s the difference between a birthday present and a Christmas gift ? Both words refer to something given as an expression of friendship, affection, esteem, etc. But gift is a more formal term, often suggesting something of monetary value that is formally bestowed on an individual, group, or institution (: a gift to the university). Present, on the other hand, implies something of less value that is an expression of goodwill (: a housewarming present; a present for the teacher).

Largesse is a somewhat pompous term for a very generous gift that is conferred in an ostentatious or condescending way, often on many recipients (: the king’s largesse; the largesse of our government). A gratuity is associated with tipping and other forms of voluntary compensation for special attention or service above and beyond what is included in a charge (: known for her generous gratuities, the duchess enjoyed watching the waiters compete with each other to serve her), while a lagniappe is a Southern word, used chiefly in Louisiana and southeast Texas, for either a gratuity or a small gift given to a customer along with a purchase.

That said, Valentine’s Day is soon upon us. To all the men who refuse to acknowledge the holiday, let me say this: be original. "It’s such a commercial holiday…" And your point is what exactly? "It’s just so manufactured. I show you I love you all the time. This holiday shouldn’t have to apply to us." Bore to the ing, my friend. You think it’s a cliche joke of a holiday, do you? Well not nearly as cliche as protesting it.

Lucas and Abigail are getting 100% cotton PJ from Yiya. I know this because last time she was here, she remarked how disgusting all those polyester sleep clothes are. I completely concur. They’ve outgrown all the sweet pima cotton jammies and are in need of fine cotton cuddle wear. I’m off to Neiman Marcus LAST CALL today to dig for some. And also to pick up a birthday gift for Avery, a sweet girl in their class. I’ll be sure to get her a gift or a present, whichever of the two says "what a two-year-old would want."

A YEAR AGO: 4 BUCKS, 4 MOVIES

2 YEARS AGO: RIDING BITCH

3 YEARS AGO: ALL THAT HAS COME BEFORE

4 YEARS AGO: GIRL TALKERATI

5 YEARS AGO: FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 

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COMMENTS:

  1. Gift and present are used interchangeably, the way I use supper or dinner without giving thought to which one. Though I noticed when at college in upstate NY, people made fun of me for that. But those idiots called soda "pop" so who gives a shit what they thought. I'm a big believer in communication simply meaning you got your point across. Do you understand I'm inviting you to join me in going to eat what is typically the last meal of the day? Yes? Then mission accomplished, doesn't matter what I called it.

  2. Uh oh, here you two go again with Valentine's Day.

    At least you can chuckle about it and know that it's your own tradition, that it's something you can count on each year. Something that's only between the two of you.

    Maybe you two could be a little creative and come up with your own, special UnValentine Valentine's Day? You know…pick a day that's not Feb. 14th to celebrate in your own special way. A day where only the two of you show how much you mean to each other, and celebrate it each year. And no, anniversaries don't count for this!

    I think that would be a fun and creative compromise!

  3. Uh oh, here you two go again with Valentine's Day.

    At least you can chuckle about it and know that it's your own tradition, that it's something you can count on each year. Something that's only between the two of you.

    Maybe you two could be a little creative and come up with your own, special UnValentine Valentine's Day? You know…pick a day that's not Feb. 14th to celebrate in your own special way. A day where only the two of you show how much you mean to each other, and celebrate it each year. And no, anniversaries don't count for this!

    I think that would be a fun and creative compromise!

  4. Uh oh, here you two go again with Valentine's Day.

    At least you can chuckle about it and know that it's your own tradition, that it's something you can count on each year. Something that's only between the two of you.

    Maybe you two could be a little creative and come up with your own, special UnValentine Valentine's Day? You know…pick a day that's not Feb. 14th to celebrate in your own special way. A day where only the two of you show how much you mean to each other, and celebrate it each year. And no, anniversaries don't count for this!

    I think that would be a fun and creative compromise!

    FROM SK: THANKFULLY Phil is NOT one of those men who protests V-day!

  5. And today is my Yiayia's birthday–91 years old–I'll make a point to mention "gift" when we sing her happy birthday over video chat.

  6. I think valentine's day is silly, but the fact is it exists, so to deliberately not celebrate it when you have a SO is sending a message of its own … and is just a bit disappointing.
    I wouldn't expect a gift though, something small is enough, like a personal note stuck into a purse or pocket, a clever or handmade card, one of those $1 roses they sell everywhere on the street, sneaking out of work to meet for mid-afternoon coffee.
    Well, if I had a SO that is. Sigh.

  7. Ack, any idea what to get the BF this year? Running out of ideas. Art of Shaving stuff, concert tix, cashmere, cologne, weekend trips all out (previously gifted). at. a. loss.

  8. Just wanted to say, I've been following your blog for three years. It fills me with inspiration and companionship. Thank you for sharing everything. You're the best! Keep at it!

  9. Uh, I thought you two had issues with V-day almost every year? Anyway, hope you two can work out something nice.

  10. "You think it's a cliche joke of a holiday, do you? Well not nearly as cliche as protesting it."

    Bears repeating! It's only boring and cliche if you don't bother to put any effort into making it original.

    I love sweet, snuggly babies in cotton jammies.

  11. "Largesse" is most commonly used to refer to an act of generosity or kindness . A phrase like "The largesse of the king" usually refers to the king's generosity in matters of state or policy – not actual gift-giving. I wouldn't say it's used pompously or ostentatiously, really – it's more like ceremonial hyperbole.

    And I agree with whoever said that "gift" and "present" are interchangeable – i don't ever think of those two words as having different connotations – why would you?

    As for Valentine's Day,it's not just men who think it's a manufactured holiday. I wouldn't say I hate it, more that I just don't care and think it's kind of weird when a guy I'm dating wants to celebrate it.

  12. … and to add one more to the Giving List- Prize. My mom would always call and say she had a "prize" for us. Be it, a shirt- a key chain- a board game. It implied that it was something small but fun. But don't get too excited because it's not at the "present" or "gift" level. And never to be confused with a SURprise because that was completely different!

  13. I'm a romantic but I think Valentine's Day is so high school. I much prefer spontaneous displays of love and consider our anniversary as the day to formally celebrate our relationship with presents and a night out together. I guess I just don't care to share Valentine's Day celebrations with giggly teenagers who give teddy bears as gifts and couples who have been in love for a week.

  14. The husband and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day per se. Mostly we try to get out of town and not spend any kind of money. In reality, we store up for our anniversary which is far more important (and private) to us anyway.

  15. I agree re: polyesther clothing. My son's closet is *almost* polyester-free (which is more than I can say for mine, but that's a different story).
    Hanna Andersson has some very cute cotton (and some organic cotton) pj's. I also love Zutano clothing: great quality, original designs, no polyester.

  16. We stopped celebrating V-Day many years ago, it always ended badly and finally we decided we don't have to succumb to yet another commercialized pressure filled gift giving occasson. By all standards we are supposed to give cards to everyone, not just our spouse. Will not do it. I have also seen how very sad this particular holiday makes those who don't have someone in their lives and I hate that. Feels like a salt-rubbing in wound sort of day. Will not do it. Call me cliche' don't care.

  17. "To all the men who refuse to acknowledge the holiday, let me say this: be original."

    Ok, so what about all the women? I always declare Valentine's Day to be non-existent. I think it's dumb and I really don't need anything on this obligatory day to feel loved or whatever. Being original means making all the random, unscripted days count, not buying flowers on cue!

  18. @Clare For what it's worth: My best ever Valentine's Day gift to my ex-boyfriend (Would not be such a hit with my husband. THANK GOD!!!) was one of those ultra-violent games for his Playstation. For my husband I usually just get chocolate because we're both addicted. The most useless gift I ever gave my husband was a set of chocolate body paints. Turns out we're not really body paint people…too messy.

  19. oh. because…what was the occasion where you bought him sweaters or shirts for cold weather or something and then you were pissed with what he gave you (like a homemade card or something) and then he blew up at you about being selfish and materialistic and "what did you want me to do? go to the mall and buy a stupid shirt" or something? thought that was valentine's day.

  20. When our daughters were younger, my husband started the Valentine's Day tradition of buying them the chocolates and presenting them with a card he made by hand. They enjoy the special attention (he has always been what he calls "girlie goofy" over them), and I can't put into words the feeling that comes with witnessing the bond they share as a result of gestures such as these.

    The girls are now 10 and 14 which means that, soon enough, they'll have Valentines of their own, to mark the holiday as they will. However this plays out, I doubt they will ever forget the little tokens of love they received from the first guy to ever fall head over heels for them.

  21. The sweetest most original Valentine's gift I have ever received was when I was 9 months pregnant and my husband went to Central Market as a surprise and bought a weekend's worth of ready-to-eat gourmet meals. I feasted all weekend and didn't have to dirty a dish. That's love.

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