Yesterday marked the beginning of the official holiday shopping season. Selecting gifts for others is high on my list of activities that stress the body and challenge the intellect. How do I know what anyone else wants and needs unless they tell me? Both criteria, wanting and needing, are hard to satisfy, because most of us don’t need much more than we already have, and most of our wants don’t fall in the category of “for the low, low price of only $25.” Our houses are filled with stuff we don’t use, or at least mine is. Should I add more to everyone’s pile and hope they add more to mine? Am I right or do you detect the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge breathing down my neck?
As more and more people stand on freeway exits holding their signs — “Single father of three, unemployed, clean and sober,” or “Homeless veteran, please help, God Bless,” I wonder where I should be directing my Christmas dollars this year. The one tradition that I do find satisfying is the giving trees you sometimes see in stores with tags on their limbs: “Jennifer, age 8, doll; Mark, age 7, puzzles and games. Since human service agencies sponsor these, you know the need is there and the kids are clear about their wants. Unfortunately, you miss seeing the child’s face when he or she opens the present.
Don’t get me wrong. I like giving gifts. It’s the need to find the perfect gift that puts me in a snit, because I never know what the perfect gift is. Unless they fall in love with my gift, want to keep it for the rest of their lives and will it to their children or grandchildren, what’s the point?
I’d be happier if I had more time and talent to make gifts. I’d sew colorful tortilla warmers and baked potato bags, even placemats for everyone, but no one wants to receive something that looks like a ten-year old made it. I also like to bake cookies as gifts; they rarely take up space in the frig for more than a few days and give everyone pleasure, though, unfortunately, unwanted calories. I’m going to a friend’s house next week to learn how to make bookmarks of polymer clay and/or wire and rhinestones. If other friends are reading this, take this as a warning of what’s about to land in your Christmas stocking.
Note: I’m not a complete Scrooge. I even went to a mall jam-packed with shoppers and bought my first present yesterday. For me. You’re next.
Happy to help you out, Ann. Just feel free to give me a vintage bottle of champagne–Dom Perignon or Roederer’s Crystal will be fine — won’t take up much room for long. Cheers, Sharon
Do they cost more than $25:>)
I am trying something new this year… I am trying to only give gifts purchased from local stores, no big box stores allowed, my money is going to the small ma and pa businesses.. such as a gift certificate for an oil change, a manicure. I am buying things at local craft shops or local potters… should be interesting when it comes to the little ones… this new “techy” generation make gift giving difficult and expensive.
I like your ideas. I have a local store in mind for what I hope will be all of my purchases.
Sent from my iPad
Life became much easier and less stressful in my small group of family and friends when we decided we would stop exchanging gifts. I thought I would miss opening gifts on Christmas Eve, (growing up it was Christmas morning), but to tell the truth, I haven’t. I agree that contributing to the gifts for children who would otherwise do without makes more sense. Or giving to your favorite charity – or – other worthy cause. There are plenty of them out there!