Gift Wish: Bling or Sentimental?

I’m not typically a “bling” kind of girl. I drive a five-year-old Honda Civic. I don’t get manicures or pedicures. I’ve never been to a spa, tanning bed, or visited a professional masseuse. I don’t wear a lot of makeup (much less worry about the difference between a “day” and a “night” look). I wear my hair long, so I only go to a salon about four times a year for upkeep. I don’t remember the last time I bought an item of clothing for myself that cost over $30 (I’ve been downsizing and getting rid of things, not adding to what I already have). And I go through spurts with wearing jewelry. Sometimes I’ll wear it regularly, and then I’ll go weeks without wearing anything other than an occasional necklace to work.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that my two sisters are much more glamorous than I. Just recently I told my older sister that I almost always wear pants to work, so I wear the same pair of black shoes pretty much every day. (It’s easy; I keep them under my desk and then I wear my sneakers whenever I leave the office.) I believe she was genuinely appalled.

The thing is, I really don’t care about all of that stuff. I try to take care of my body and my appearance, but I don’t go out of my way to draw attention to myself. And right now, another part of the “non-bling” lifestyle is simply about living within my means. I work for a nonprofit and I live in an area with a high cost of living. If I had more money to spend on the bling? Sure, I might be persuaded to part with my cash on a more regular basis.

But what would I want as a gift? Would I want the bling, or would I prefer to have something sentimental?

When I think about this question, I don’t just think about what I’d want. I think about the situation of the person from whom I’d be receiving this gift. Just like I wouldn’t go into debt to buy myself some bling, I wouldn’t expect someone else to purchase something for me that was outside of their means. But sure, if the guy had some extra cash he’d like to part with for my sake, I wouldn’t tell him no.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting a sentimental gift, regardless of the amount of money a person has. (And by “sentimental” I’m not necessarily talking homemade or even something that takes a lot of effort; it can be as simple as remembering something you might have mentioned months before, filing the information away and then bringing the gift forward at a later time without you having to remind him. We all like to know that the other person is paying attention.)

(I was asked to write BlogHer’s Question of the Week: Which gift would you prefer to receive from your partner…bling or sentimental? You can read the rest of my post at that link.)

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