January 29, 2010

On Valentine's Day and Giving Gifts to Your Someone

Generally speaking, I find reasons to dress up, even if the occasions don't call for it explicitly. I derive pleasure from the process of putting together pieces in new or unexpected ways. I perceive value in keeping an amply stocked closet, even if it pains me to admit the meaning I derive from my most frivolous of material interests. I am fortunate to have a lot of options facilitating smoothly my recent resolution to take very seriously the question of "what will this particular item ADD" before making any moves to purchase. Approaching my shopping habits and crass consumerism with a critical, reflexive approach has been challenging.  Examining critically my patterns of otherwise routine behavior helped me close many browser windows containing full shopping carts during the recent sales. Instituting 24 hour waiting periods before making all online purchases also helped me realize that after the thrill of anticipation wore off, it became that much easier to veto something. And when it came to flash sales, you might as well not even bother after that kind of wait. So I haven't bothered. But I am not without consumer sin on those occasions to purchase gifts for my specific someone, Chris.
(in a Rag and Bone suit and shirt, Theory tie, and Maison Martin Margiela shoes)

We don't do Valentine's Day. Occasionally I make a mix and we listen to it. He cooks a meal (elaborately, as his meals usually are) and we eat it. But that's as observant as we get. This year we have to go to a baptism on his mother's side of the family on February 14th. And that evening our friend is DJ'ing all love songs at the Brillobox so we will have a cheap and probably lovely night out. But even though gifts will not be part of our Valentine times, I have some thoughts on gift giving and loved ones.
Lego Bride and Groom

You see, Chris's 30th birthday approaches. We've scaled back our gift exchanges in recent years because we share a home, we share a life, and we share the knowledge of how difficult it will be financially speaking, to throw a party celebrating our union that can include our large families and group of friends, this October. I have learned that in a relationship you can make memories specific to a holiday and completely removed from the realm of the material. It might seem obvious but in the beginning of our relationship, I felt more steadfast in my desire to prove to Chris my feelings for him in some tangible, measurable way. Gifts seemed obvious in that regard and I came from a family of great gift givers, making it that much more legitimate. So during the first few years of our relationship, we took turns trying to one-up each other with birthday restaurant choices, elaborate plans, expensive gifts, etc. And those make memories, for sure...  but they aren't their only means of production.
 
Mike and Chris hoodies from Reverse Reverse

These days it makes a lot more sense to our coupling, to our financial circumstances, and to our daily lives to come up with gifts that integrate. Rather than moving mountains with a statement present that might languish in a drawer, we select carefully a piece of casual clothing that is likely to become a staple, a few vinyl records that we currently only have in mp3 format, some obscure deck of trivial pursuit cards to supplement our board game options, or the Criterion version of a beloved film we've saved on our DVR for far too long.
Chris and I recently photographed while chatting with Chancellor Nordenberg at the GPSA Winter Reception at Pitt's University Club.

Even if they are sometimes more modest in price point, gifts of utility to the daily life of the recipient are going to be valued in immeasurable ways. As we grow our combined collections of media the sights and sounds we use to track our shared life also fill our library with colorful memories worthy of both display and regular use. What do you plan to give loved ones for impending gift exchanging occasions?

2 comments:

erin said...

oh hai i know that handsome guy :) the valentine's gig at the brillobox sounds fun!

Jesspgh said...

Erin, you and Chris should come! Intense Andy will be dj'ing and they do $5 vegetarian dinners on Sundays that are a great bargain. We tend to not go out on valentine's day cause everything is so crowded and overly hyped but this seems like a nice casual solution to our not wanting to cook right before a trip.

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