last year for my birthday a nice intp friend bought an old antique radio for my car. i love him for it, it's the thought that counts, however when i'm traveling i have problems with the reception. like it's on one channel then when i go under a bridge or something similar, or sometimes out of the blue, the channel will change or another channel will kind of blend in with the first. so i'm listening to something interesting and before long something else gets in the way which makes it hard to enjoy. i think this is because the radio is old. so was my intp friend.
I try to think about their personalities...if they are more down to earth and serious...or are they more fun loving or do they like little things they can do around the house and make pr ojects out of? If they use a lot of electronics like cell phones or ipods that you can do different things on, gift cards are good for minutes, apps, videos and songs...that kind of thing.
I have a list of the people I normally buy presents for (about 5 family members and 5 friends.) Whenever I think of something during the year they might like, be it from a comment of theirs or an inspiration of mine, I write it on the list. Then I have some things to choose from at present time. Pretty NT I'd say I also make scads of cookies at Christmas that everyone gets. They also make a good last minute gift for people you forgot or for hostess gifts.
Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.
Who invented this christmas malarkey anyhow? It's a dumb idea!
That question is basically the same one I asked myself several years ago, and after a couple more years of sweating out obligitory gift giving, I finally said enough is enough. (Obligitory in the same sense you've described, I think -a desire to give a meaningful gift, falling short, and being held to a certain expectation or standard by some others and myself).
Now, we give to the children and charity, and that is it. My kids, nieces and nephews, and kids of friends. I may give a Christmas card, but no gifts to adults who are perfectly capable of buying what they want when they want it. The first year that we did this, we donated to charity in the name of the adult person(s) and gave them the "notice" along with a card. At the family gatherings, we told them about the charity, who was benefiting, how we came to learn of it and so on. My grandmother (an SF) has done that for years, donated blankets to the homeless in our names. Christmas is about giving, sharing time, love, space, etc...but it's not about giving things in excess, symbolic things or not. My husband is an ESFJ, and he seemed to think it was perfectly fine and acceptable. We haven't been uninvited to any family dinners since we started it a few years ago.
Also, we told our friends that we would be donating to charity that year in lieu of presents, so they need not buy for us, and that we looked forward to spending time with them. Some bought us presents anyway, and that was a little uncomfortable the first year. The second year, no one did presents, and I think we all felt better because we were all off the hook.
Good luck with getting into your solution, whatever that turns out to be.
Now, we give to the children and charity, and that is it.
That concept alone has filled me with new dread I'm afraid. A good idea but then.... which charity!!!
Personally I've managed to avoid the usual painful task of telling people what I want for my birthday, something I object to but have no firm and logical reason to be, by adopting a new hobby. It seems that once you collect something people relax a bit... especially when the store that does said hobby supports wish lists.
Mind you though a couple still gave up and went with the gift certificate idea. I must admit that at first the idea of these things made me think it was an off handed and unimaginative present but I'm beginning to think that they are the solution.
#1 you bothered to research where they want to shop
#2 They can go and get something they want for free!!
Free is good.
I do agree about the excess though. I have arguments with my wife about my nephews based upon how much they individually want. I'm a little too easy with money you see but she's a tad more level headed. Damned realists!!
I always donate liquor for birthdays. So when my sister got 9 years old and I bought her that super expensive Scotch, everyone looked at me shaking their heads in disgust, but not being angry. Cause once you built that image, its impossible to be ruined
"How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray