It is rarely that you meet someone who has a 'No gifts policy' as a permanent feature in life. I was fortunate to encounter a person (that too a lady!) recently who has vowed never to take gifts. Amused, as I was was, the more I think about it, the more sensible it seems. Having lived in a society where each one of us is forever curious to know "what we will get" or "what have we got" and most importantly "what the others have got versus what's in my kitty", meeting a lady who unabashedly refuses gifts as a 'vow' seemed quite novel to me.
Coming to think of it, what we give or what we receive is a direct translation of "How much money is someone worth?". Very rarely do we meet someone, who is happy to receive a gift that may be as simple a thing like a flower plucked from a garden! We seem to have a tendency to weigh our worth based on money, rather than the thought behind it.
My mother for one may have spent a tenth of her life, in picking gifts for all and sundry but apart from the occasional appreciation from the domestic help or the flower seller no one has ever appreciated the gift as well as the thought behind it (including your's truly!) Nevertheless come Dasserah or Diwali or birthdays she always has something ready for all of us, like it or not :). It does not matter to her that many a times all she gets back is unhappy faces or stinging words on 'how terrible the gift is', all she is interested in giving as a gesture from the heart and not really the economic or aesthetic value attached to it.
With our kind of social upbringing I wonder if we have contributed to a growing culture where we give not because we love to, or want to, but because we want to receive in return! Is gifting not any more about 'the heart' but an expectation deeply seeded in many of us? Then how is it a gift? It's just a barter system of exchanging 'x' amount of money garbed in the form of some material!
All this and more makes me seriously conclude that the best form of gift is something you give in which there is no calculation of 'return value' and the only thing that fits in to this category is giving your TIME to someone. When you give your time, you are actually giving a part of your life which you can never get back - and that is a perfect gift as per me. When someone says, "I am available for you always" it is indeed priceless!
Now only TIME will tell, whether or not I adopt a 'No receiving gifts' policy in life :) It does seem appealing though - the entire vicious circle of expectations and disappointments can be sealed once and for all.