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You Can Buy Me Love, But Please Don’t Buy Me Gadgets

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and the majority of us are likely scrambling to find that special gift. (The rest of us, meanwhile, are cursing couples.) A Valentine’s Day gift is usually more important than others because it’s a one-on-one situation, unlike Christmas or birthdays. Just one gift, to just one person — and it better be good.

With that in mind, I’d like to address an article out of AllThingsD this morning that sourced information from PriceGrabber’s Valentine’s Day Dashboard Report. The report took information from February 4 through February 5, finding that various tablets, TVs and phones are hot items for gift-crazed Valentines.

The information itself isn’t that intriguing, but it did get me thinking about handing out gadgetry as a gift.

What makes gift-giving so special to us — and such a huge part of our culture — is the fact that it’s proof of one person’s thought for another person. We’re naturally very self-centered, all of us. But by going out and thinking of, finding, buying, and wrapping a gift, we give that special someone proof that we’ve been thinking about them — proof that they’re important to us.

Of course, expensive gifts are often seen as better gifts, but that’s just a product of our consumer-driven lifestyles. To spend more on someone is nice, if thought is also a large part of the equation, but without thought the gift becomes empty. For example, last year I bought my girlfriend a pretty expensive necklace from her favorite jewelry store. I figured that since the store was her favorite, and that particular necklace was one of their most expensive, I’d be good to go.

Wrong.

She said the necklace wasn’t her style, which made a lot of sense after we went through her jewelry box and found that she only owned silver jewelry. The necklace I bought was gold.

Unfortunately, most gadgetry falls into this category. Just because it’s expensive and flashy and has an Apple on it doesn’t mean that it’s the most meaningful gift. Especially considering the fact that our gadgetry is so very personal.

The type of phone you own and enjoy using says a lot about you, and it is inevitably a part of your daily life for about two years. For some of us, it’s a more steadfast, stable relationship than the one we have with our Valentine. Why would anyone ever want someone else to pick it out for them?

The same is true for tablets and PCs. Just think of how many configurations your laptop could have come in. But you thought about it, knew your needs, knew your price range, and configured your notebook accordingly. Chances are, no one else could’ve done that for you.

Of course, there are exceptions to both of the points I’ve made — that expensive gifts are empty and that gadgets need to be chosen by the owner.

Ever since I was 16, Christmas changed at my house. There were no longer a dozen small gifts under the tree. Instead, my dad asked me in October if there was anything that I really, really wanted, and that one gift is what I’d get on Christmas. This is how I got my first car, help with the down payment on my apartment, and almost every piece of gadgetry I’ve ever owned, including the iPhone 4S.

So, according to my earlier logic, my dad would be an awful gift-giver. But that’s not necessarily the case. See, in the instance of my family Christmas, my dad always asked me what I wanted, and in turn I was as specific as possible. I was getting the end-all, be-all of potential Christmas gifts because it’s exactly what I had chosen.

Plus, we’re talking about my dad and Christmas, not your lover and Valentine’s Day.

So do your Valentine a favor this year: Unless he or she has asked very specifically for this or that gadget, take an extra minute to think what would truly make this person happy, and do your very best to make it happen for them.

Tablets and phones are great, but knowing that someone has spent time thinking about you… that’s priceless.

[Img credit: Lasse Kristensen, ShutterStock]