A few thoughts on gift giving

Post-Christmas, I’m just recording a few thought on presents and gift giving.

Christmas is often slated as overly commercial these days, and it certainly can be in some spheres. I generally stay as far away from television and its myriad adverts as I can (not that I watch much television anyway) during December.

However, rampant advertising aside, there is something lovely about buying somebody a gift and knowing that they will enjoy it.

Gift giving is an ancient social custom, and one which works best if you really think about the reason behind what you are buying, rather than just panic-buying something you found after Googling “gifts for outdoorsy people”.

There are many schools of thought on what makes a great gift. Here are a few I’ve encountered. I don’t think there’s one which stands out as best, but they can be useful ways to think about what to buy people as presents.

1. What they want/have asked for. Perhaps the easiest way of buying gifts, and the one that requires the least thought. It may be expected, but at least you’re guaranteed to give a ‘good’ gift.

2. Something you know they want but have forgotten about. Can be a lovely surprise when someone realises you’ve remembered what they said they would like or enjoy in the past. However, it can backfire, resulting in confusion and awkwardness if they don’t want it any more or actually wanted something else instead.

3. Something they ‘don’t know they need’. If you know somebody well enough, it’s easy to identify things they might not have at all that they would really enjoy or appreciate.

4. Little luxuries. A nice gift to give is something of very good quality that the recipient might not buy for themselves — they will appreciate it each time they use it and it will stand out as special.

5. Something that they will use often. A gift which is useful; something which makes the recipient’s life easier or better somehow.

Comment with your thoughts, or if you have any further suggestions.

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Sexual harassment in the military

Another short article on sexual harassment in the military. While it focuses on the US Army, I believe a similar problem exists in the British Army (a reflection of British society at large).

We all have a responsibility to speak out against the people who carry out these awful acts, as well as those that make jokes about this sort of behaviour and consider it acceptable.

Post-Weinstein

A great post on sexual harassment, and how we all have a responsibility to fight against it.

The Military Leader – 5 ‘Must Have’ Conversations for Military Leaders

Link to article

A short, great little article on important conversations any leader should be having regularly.

Angry Staff Officer – An Army Officer’s Guide to Public Speaking

Right. So I’m just going to put this out here right off: if I have to listen to yet another stumbling, rambling, mispronounced, mumbled, dry, and generally boring as hell briefing from one of my peers, I’m going to find a way to beat someone over the head with their own PowerPoint slides. Seriously, we’ve […]

via An Army Officer’s Guide to Public Speaking — The Angry Staff Officer

Apollo Brown – Trophies

I’ve been listening to this album while working far away from home. Apollo Brown and the artists he features are incredibly talented and creative. Fantastic beats, slick lyrics and surprising twists in the flow of the album. Give it a listen.

Gregory Alan Isakov – Dandelion Wine

Found from a ‘similar to…’ tab on Spotify when I was listening to Noah Gundersen. I’ve just discovered this guy’s music and I’m really enjoying it. Beautiful lyrics and sparse, tense guitar notes. This track takes me back to summers as a kid, the smell of newly cut grass and walking around an airfield I used to live by. There’s a version he recorded with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra which is just incredible — look it up!