IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2006
IT'S BETTER TO GIVE...
13 December 2006
Hi. My name is Bev. I'm a give-a-holic. I have to admit that I love this time of year because it's a time when I can go (sort of) wild and crazy in giving gifts and (almost) nobody questions it because it's the time of year that people give gifts, so it's really (sort of) OK.
I'm a bit more restrained now than I was when the kids were little. Walt and I have had very few disagreements in our 41+ years of marriage, but for a number of years, you could always count on a "discussion" or two when the post-Christmas bills began rolling in. There was always that "one more thing" that I would find, the worry that so-and-so wasn't getting "enough."
"Christmas shopping" for me really begins on December 26. All the packages have been opened, most of the wrapping paper put away, and it's time to start thinking about what I'm going to get for everybody next year.
This means turning on the antennae again, paying attention to dropped clues about what the potential gift recipients have enjoyed throughout the year, what hobbies they've taken up, what new author or new performer they've discovered, what shows they enjoy watching, etc. Learning about the interests of people I love is a never-ending occupation!
I already have a general idea of the kind of perennial things they enjoy, though I'm sure Ned and Marta are delighted that I no longer shop for Poppin' fresh items or things with clowns on them, and that I've (almost) run out of pug stuff. Sometimes we zero in on the thing that a kid loved when s/he was 13 and saddle that poor kid with an endless stream of that sort of thing well into adulthood, long past the time when the interest waned.
For some people it's a bit more difficult. Tom is always the most difficult of the kids to buy for because I rarely see him, he is too busy to call and chat, and he and Laurel just got all that expensive gadgetry for their wedding 2 yrs ago. My only real chance to get a clue as to what he might like is on our yearly barbeque weekend in Santa Barbara. That rarely helps, so I do more guessing for him than for most other people. (Get an Amazon wish list, Tom!)
Walt is very easy because whatever you get for him will stay in the box until next year and sometimes you can give it to him the following year and he won't be any the wiser (at least I've always thought that; I've never actually tested it). He fooled me last year. I had given him a great new bike seat to replace the one that was held together by duct tape. The following November, the new bike seat was still sitting in its box in the garage and he was still taping his old seat with duct tape, so I decided that rather than spend money on another Christmas gift, I would re-wrap the bike seat, but he put it on his bike 2 weeks before Christmas, so I had to put on my thinking cap to find something to replace it! (get an Amazon wish list, Walt!)
You can always give someone something to wear, but I really like being more personal when I can, since there aren't any real clothes horses in the family (unless I have been dead and haven't noticed). I like knowing that whatever I give comes out of knowing what the recipient enjoys.
Buying someone like my mother something to wear is ridiculous. She works in the Hospice of Marin thrift shop, which gets high quality, often barely worn (or actually new) clothing which looks beautiful on her and she gets it dirt cheap. To buy something like a new sweater from a department store that she can get at HodgePodge for $5 (and which is probably of better quality than I can afford) always seems silly. She also gets her books and puzzles at HodgePodge, so shopping for her is always a great challenge, especially since she is also trying to declutter her already uncluttered life. Cute little tsatskes are out of the question. But that just means that when I find that perfect gift, I'm much more thrilled about it. (I absolutely LOVE what I found for her this year! I bought it several months ago.)
Sometimes people have Amazon wish lists and those are great, whether I get the actual item or not, because it gives me a clue about what my gift recipient is "into" this year. (My "Secret Santa" already checked my own Amazon wish list and I was thrilled to discover a mystery package at my front door recently.)
There is a problem with shopping for Christmas all year long. When December rolls around, I sometimes forget that I've purchased something. I actually found something I bought for someone a few Christmases ago recently so that has gone into the package for this year.
To combat gift-misplacement, I've now started keeping a password protected database of Christmas gifts and (a) where I either purchased or ordered them from (in case ordered gifts never get delivered), and (b) where I HID them!
Of course, on Christmas day there is "performance anxiety." Have I chosen right? Will they really like it? Will they hate it and pretend to like it? Watching everyone else open their gifts is far more fun for me than opening my own gifts.
I don't know if there is a cure for my "...ism." I hope not because I'm really addicted to spending money on people I love. It's just that it's a year-long enterprise for me! Well...I need another hobby, right?
Featured Holidailies Entry: Christmas Letter by Wilder Days. (I love people like this!)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Dancer and Lizzie
This is entry #2449