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Emily L Takes Gift Cards Out Back

December 20, 2018

If you’ve been following the blog for the past few months, you are probably familiar with Emily L. She’s been a periodic contributor to the FLB, and while we don’t always agree on matters of taste, I really love being able to feature another passionate local voice.

But Emily submitted this piece before I wrote yesterday’s post on experiences being more important than things. I’m not sure if we’ve ever been so close to being on the same wavelength as we are right now.

So if you’re thinking about getting another gift card for a close friend or relative out of last minute desperation, take a deep breath, and read about the tried and true alternative Emily recently discovered.

A New Holiday Tradition
By Emily L

Christmas gifting is stressful. Each year, it becomes more difficult to figure out what people want, who is going to expect something from me, and if I need to have ‘just in case’ gifts for those I didn’t expect to give me something. I also find receiving gifts to be stressful; I don’t like the idea of people spending money on me. If I want something, I usually buy it for myself or if it is too expensive, it’s a sign I don’t actually need it.

Family gifting becomes even more difficult as we all get older and more financially stable. The past few years, it seems we have just been exchanging gift cards with each other; one financial transaction to another. It seems so un-personal and almost burden-like. This season, I decided to do something different. What I wanted was time spent with loved ones and family, not things. What brings people together? Food of course!

This past Friday, I took my boyfriend’s family out for dinner as their Christmas present, offering to take them to whatever restaurant they felt comfortable and wanted to go to. With dietary restrictions and hesitations of trying someplace new, we ended up at Outback Steakhouse. Yes, a chain restaurant. And you know what? It wasn’t bad.

Since this was their gift, no one worried about price; everyone could get what they wanted. We were in no rush, this was the only thing planned for the night so we could actually have conversation. The familiar menu meant no one was stressed trying to figure out if they would like something new or not. My boyfriend’s mom even ordered a gingerbread martini, quite uncharacteristic of her usual non-drinking self.

While the food was not a culinary adventure, it was warm and we spent almost two hours there, catching up, laughing, and just enjoying each other’s company. Everyone just relaxed. It was the perfect gift.

So I think I am going to do this every year. Maybe I can get them to break out of the shell next year and try something new. But even if we don’t, this will be our new tradition.

Can I just say that I love this? I love this. One of the best parts about taking someone out for a meal is that you get to enjoy the gift too. Even if you end up going to a place that may not be your first choice.

For what it’s worth, I have nothing against Outback Steakhouse. We had a Yelp Elite Event there some time ago, and I returned for another blooming onion and massive slice of chocolate cake. It was fun. One just needs to be cautious of serving sizes, but that’s true across the board.

Brava to Emily L for living her truth, and walking away from gift cards. Hopefully her experience might give those of you on the fence a little more confidence to abandon the form and choose a better path.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2018 7:22 pm

    I know what Emily meant, but the review of “While the food was not a culinary adventure, it was warm” is pretty funny.

  2. albanylandlord permalink
    December 21, 2018 12:19 am

    Nice Story, great idea, and a reminder that when you gift to someone it should be what they want (Outback).

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