Dubai Diaries: The perfect gift might not exist

Buying presents for loved ones is downright nerve-wracking.

By Gopika Nair

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 10:37 AM

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when everyone around you is scratching their heads and scrambling for gift ideas.

I can handle workplace Secret Santas and Kris Kringles; getting a gift for someone you barely know somehow doesn’t feel too consequential. Scented candles, bath gift sets, fuzzy socks and hand creams are all of my favourite, albeit unimaginative, go-tos for such occasions.

But buying presents for my loved ones is downright nerve-wracking. I wouldn’t say I was cursed with the bad gift-giving gene, but I also don’t know if I was blessed with the good one.

If anything, I am perfectly mediocre, which is why I default to getting people more than one present — my magic number is usually four. The idea behind this is the (admittedly ludicrous) assumption that they might like at least one of the gifts.

This year, I’ve fallen victim to the clutches of gift-giving anxiety. Christmas is exactly a week away, but it already feels too late to find the so-called perfect gift.

My Amazon history is a line-up of Pokémon plushies that is estimated to arrive long after Christmas, on January 6, 2022.

A trip to Dubai Mall is the next best thing, but 10,000 steps later, I know I’ll end up at Lush, eyeing the vibrant Intergalactic bath bomb. There, while the retail associate packs up my gift, I’ll have to swallow the realisation that I just won’t be giving a memorable Christmas gift this year.

But being in our heads, driven by the anxiety of giving the most perfect gift, is exactly why we self-sabotage and give our loved ones something generic out of defeat. The pressure is compounded when we start fixating on the idea that a good gift can strengthen relationships, while a bad one can strain ties somehow.

Of course, that’s rarely the case, but we still want to get the gift right and see our loved ones’ eyes light up when they open their present. The fear of knowing that might not happen this year was what prompted me to ask my partner if we should even exchange gifts before he travels home for the holidays.

“Maybe we can just do cards for now and then gifts when you’re back,” I said, but even as I did, I realised it was an easy out. Sure, it would give me more time to find the cutest Pokémon plushie and scour the mall for other things he might like. But in reality, I will probably be in the same situation a month from now, fighting off waves of gift-giving anxiety.

Perhaps the best way to get over the slump, then, is just to accept the fact we won’t always get the gift right, which is OK, too. The important thing is the intention, so I’m going to make a last-minute trip to the mall and make sure there’s a gift to open on Christmas day.

More news from