One year, he gave me a giant stuffed walrus for Christmas
When you give a gift to that special someone this holiday, ask yourself: will you be giving a gift that will make them squeal in delight or are you giving them a giant stuffed walrus?
Gift giving is exciting and thrilling and fun. Many times, people put great thought and time into a gift while others fly by the seat of their pants as they scramble through the store to find the right gift in time to give it. But which ones are more likely to get it right? More accurately, how many will get gifts right this year all together?
Bottom line: gifts are given with the best of intentions and no one wants to give one that’s bad or unwanted, but almost one-third will not get it right and it will be the equivalent of receiving a huge stuffed walrus.
I know this because I’ve received such a walrus. Literally.
Back when my husband and I were dating, he and his sister went Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. She was getting a few last minute odds and ends but he hadn’t thought about a gift for me at all which was just how he did things. While walking through the store, he saw this walrus and thought it had my name written all over it.
His sister looked at him like he was crazy but he thought it was great. Just a couple years before when we first started dating, he gave me a huge teddy bear which I thought was sweet. We’d only been dating a couple months and I didn’t expect much of a gift at all. I think he thought a walrus would be the perfect addition to my room, even though it would take up more space than the teddy bear.
So they brought the beast home, wrapped him and told me things like “just wait till you see your gift.” I didn’t know what to expect but I certainly didn’t expect this. As I opened the walrus in front of his entire family, all I could do was laugh. His family thought there was some hidden meaning, some greater purpose for a gift so large and unusual, but there really wasn’t. To this day, I’m still not quite sure what he was thinking.
Now I’m not saying that all the gifts my husband has given me have been as…um…unique as the giant walrus. There have been many times when he’s given me great gifts that have been just what I wanted or needed or never dreamed I’d be given (in a good way). But the walrus definitely stands out among many of them. Well, that and the bottle of olive oil he gave me for our first Christmas after we got married but that’s a story for another time.
Sixteen years later, Wally the Walrus is still in my house because I don’t really know what to do with him. I’ve given him to my kids to play with and they have but are starting to pay him less and less attention. I don’t want to throw him out and have him take up space in a landfill. I could try and sell him but how do I find the person in the market for a 16-year-old giant stuffed walrus?
Sadly, I know that I’m not alone.
A USA Today article states that in 2012, consumers spent an average of $786 on holiday gifts and comScore estimates that total spending was $42.3 billion. Economist Joel Waldfogel from the University of Minnesota explains in his book Scroogenomics that between $8 to $20 billion of this is wasted on unwanted or unneeded gifts. In other words, one out of three gifts you receive and give will miss the mark and could potentially be a stuffed walrus.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have a spare $14 billion to waste and my time is limited on figuring out ways to give the right gifts to everyone on my list. Also, I have no more room for stuffed walruses or random Christmas decorations that aren’t my style or household items that I have absolutely no use for.
We’re going to continue to give gifts because it’s exciting and thrilling and fun. I’m helped out greatly by my family and friends who use Giftster so my time isn’t wasted on trying to figure out which gifts are the best to give. Likewise, I know that I’m less likely to receive gifts that I’ll need to return or pack away somewhere if my family checks my own gift wish lists.
No more stuffed walruses for me and no more for you. I use Giftster. You should, too.