in Life

The gift of gifting

Little makes me happier than gifting a good movie, television show, or song to someone else—and them liking it (I thought about this while reading a great post about spoilers by Emily Blake).

I don’t think I’m alone in that . We all have favorites that we like to share. But I take it seriously.

Very seriously.

For me, gifting isn’t just giving someone a tangible item. I’m not talking about blowing out birthday candles, handing someone a DVD, and leaving because this party sucks. You’re gifting an experience—whether that means watching a movie or listening to a song with someone (granted, music is a little different because it’s not the norm to sit around and listen to music with people, so feel free to send them on their way with a CD).

But why not just send them on their way all the time? Because gifting is somewhat selfish. By gifting, we’re able to relive the experience vicariously. I’ll often not feel like watching a certain movie, regardless of how much I enjoy it. Suddenly I discover that a friend hasn’t seen it and I feel an incredible and immediate excitement: I have to watch it. Now.

Will they smile at the same moments I do? Will they cry? I don’t think I did. Maybe I will this time.

One of my favorite TV shows to gift is 24. It’s incredibly exciting when someone shares with me their anger toward Sherry Palmer. Let’s face it, Sherry’s antics are nothing new. But when someone else experiences that frustration for the first time, those same emotions surge throughout me once again. It’s like a forgotten memory has suddenly surfaced: I hate Sherry Palmer! And I love it.

It’s not hard to gift something. But I like to think of it like a science because not all gifting formulas are created equal. It should be said that knowing the best formula is crucial to maximize the experience. I treat it like I’m the creator. How was it intended to be experienced? If it’s a movie we’ll have to dim the lights, eliminate distractions (put your cell phone on “off or I’ll break it,” please), and set the volume at an appropriate “loud.”

Another aspect to this is expectations. Nothing kills a movie or TV show faster than hype, which is why I’ve mastered the phrase, “it’s good.” After all, that’s all you really need to know, that I think it’s worth your time. You don’t need to know that it’s the best ever. And for you, it might not be the best ever. I want you to experience it for yourself and I want to come along for the ride. You loving it is a bonus.