You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth — Traditional saying
This saying has some truth in it. What it doesn’t explore, is whether the person actually wanted a horse. I’m thirty seven years old, and not a child, I don’t get all starry eyed by gifts. In all honesty, they tend to make me feel awkward. I should be thankful, shouldn’t I? I have a hard time doing exactly that and I am not a good actor.
It isn’t even a secret! I openly say: “Please no presents”, and I mean it. At my age you should be giving presents to your own children, not receiving any from whoever. Yet, people don’t listen. This year a particularly clever one wrote on the present “not a present”. Inventive, I admit.
Each element in the set of “objects” (and thus its subset “presents”) can be pretty much sorted according to the properties “need” and “afford”. The “need” factor is pretty self-explanatory: it defines whether I need something or not. Logic says that if I don’t need it, it doesn’t make a good present. You can thus eliminate all objects which I don’t need.
At first glance, the “afford” property doesn’t seem have any importance. It does, because affordability determines whether an object is obtainable to me. Since we already eliminated the objects I don’t need, only objects that I need are eligible. I can either afford those, or I can’t. If I can afford them and need them, I’ll buy them myself. So, a good present can only be something I need and can’t afford.
There’s the rub: There is a property we haven’t talked about which applies to the subset “presents”, and it’s “appropriateness”. Well, expensive presents are, by definition, not appropriate. This leaves us with an empty set as potential gifts, which means it is logically impossible to get me anything.
Please, save your money, spare me embarrassment, and don’t get me anything. In our family, we decided decades ago that presents were a no-go. Best … decision … ever…