Styles Of Giving: The Practical Gift

At this time last year, I was rocking a 7 year old free-with-contract cell phone. It kept on ticking, despite the fact that I'd dropped it countless times. I'm all for using things until they absolutely die, but I was talking to long-distance loved ones more than my plan allowed, the camera was wonky, and it sure would have been nice to have something a little more up to date. The overly-generous gift of an iPhone, coming at just the right time, was so much more than just nice…

It was actually a gift certificate for an iPhone, so I could go pick one out myself. Now, the thing you need to know is that I take every $5 purchase very seriously, I like to research and mull over anything I'm considering buying, and sometimes a wee bit of indecision/overwhelmed panic can set it. So besides getting the phone itself, it was immensely luxurious to waltz into the cell provider store and say, "One iPhone, please — black!", answer a couple of questions, and waltz out. No research, no hemming, and absolutely no hawing.

I would never, ever have bought myself something so fancy (bargain basement free-with-contact is definitely my style), and certainly not without counting all my pennies. The gift certificate truly went above and beyond, in that it covered the phone and all the little extras that sneak in when you sign up — taxes, fees, who knows what. All I know is, it certainly adds up, so it was such a luxury to not have to pay anything out-of-pocket at the time.

And as for the phone? I never knew I could love a piece of technology! I was very touched by and grateful for the gift of a new and needed phone, but I wasn't expecting it to be so fun, helpful, and pretty — and I think of the giver every time I use it. This is not an iPhone commercial, I swear — it just happens to be my favorite practical gift, though I have been given some excellent socks over the years (that is not sarcasm). Have you been given something you needed rather than just wanted? Did it turn out to be something you loved? How have people reacted when you've given them something practical — excited, grateful, or just matter-of-fact?

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