Write Back (Ugh!) Wednesday "All Wrapped Up With No Place To Go"
While I stress out about giving the perfect gift, I have adopted to somewhat a lame approach to gift giving, at least when all else fails. When I can't think of anything else to get someone, I get the gift that allows them to shop for themselves, a gift certificate. Knowing where they like to shop or eat helps, and it's easy to do, too. Sure some people say it takes no thought, but I look at it like this, you can put a lot of thought into something that someone may return, or you can give them the money so they can do with it what they wish. The intent is still the same, you're just cutting out the middle man. Think of these certificates as the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" of the gift giving world.
Amazingly enough, while gift certificates are a tried and true staple, I'm only giving out a few of them this year. One of my friends stops at Dunkin' Donuts every morning on the way to work so I decided to get her a certificate to there. Then for my secret Santa gift I purchased a Kohl's gift card since I don't know the person all that well.
Lucky for me my "other half" is much better at picking out creative gifts for the loved ones in our lives. It's not that I don't put any thought into it, but there are a lot of people who are very hard to shop for because they fall under one of three categories: picky gift getters, people who don't have any strong hobbies/interests and those who seem to have everything they need anyway. Unfortunately my parents fall into all three of the categories in some way or another. This year we hopefully picked out gifts that they liked. For my dad we got a back massager that you place on a chair since his back goes out of often. For my mom I purchased Hairspray the movie along with the soundtrack. I also got her a jewelry box with drawers that swing open to the side since she's been looking for one of those for awhile.
My fiance's parents are a bit easier to shop for, but I left those decisions to him. For his mom I bought a necklace and we also plan on ordering her a book set that has yet to be released but she really wants. For his dad we got a few audio books on tape since he drives a lot for work and is into stock investing and trading. For his sister we got her an iTunes gift certificate since she has an ipod that she really never uses and this concerns my fiance very much. All things technology take precedence in his world.
Speaking of him, I gave up a loooong time ago on trying to surprise him with the perfect gift. Most of the time he wants odd things anyway that I couldn't purchase on my own like specific parts for a computer. This year isn't much of an exception. He bought himself a big screen TV not too long ago so now of course he needs to have the new XBox to accompany his television. I know it's hard to believe such things are sold separately, or that this is a man in his thirties, but both of these things are true.
For friends, all of my gifts vary. One likes to bake so I got her a baking mix along with a chick flick movie combo. Another one of my friends has a particularly difficult class this year so I got her a drink mix set, more as a gag gift than anything else. For another friend of mine I bought Friday Night Lights on DVD: Season One. For her daughter I got The Wiggles version of American Idol since she liked to listen last season and the next season is rapidly approaching.
As for what I want, I suppose some people could see me as someone whose hard to shop for. That's because while I always need things, I do prefer to buy those things myself. Every year there are more movies or TV box sets I'd love to get (I even have an Amazon wish list to prove it) but more often than not people don't know which movies or miscellaneous I'd want. Most people don't like to ask what others want because then you lose the element of surprise. But not all surprises are good ones. I guess it all depends on who is doing the surprising. I think it would really be much easier if everyone registered for Christmas, even if it was just a few things they wanted, or at least made a global Christmas list. Then people could easily view what others wanted and for families, you could see what was already purchased for someone.
There are a few things I want this year that I've wanted every year that still remain my "out of reach" gifts. For instance, I want a pool but I can't have a pool now without the house so I have to wait indefinitely on that one. The other gift that hinges on the house is a dog. I've always wanted a dog, however my mother did not, so I was never able to get one. Getting a dog is one of the gifts I've been most patient for in my life. Now I feel like I'm finally getting close. I'd also like a waterfall wall and a salad bar that is maintained in my house but those are what I like to refer to as the ridiculous gifts. They might be ridiculous, but that doesn't mean a girl still can't dream.
Instead I usually get the "normal" gifts. I get a mix of lotions, perfumes and other cosmetic doo dads from my parents. I'll also probably get a new desk calendar and some underwear and socks. Of course I'll get clothes, but since I help pick out things I like along the way, I have less and less to open each year. I'm not complaining though. The older you get the less you should get, but being an only child I usually do get more because there's no one else to shop for.
I did get one big gift early this year, mainly because my fiance is impatient and couldn't wait to get his. That gift was a new digital camera. Now I really don't have any excuse why I can't take more pictures since my new camera is far superior in quality to my old one. It also has the ability to take video, which more or less kills two birds with one stone, at least for now since hopefully I'll be able to film short videos of my students, too.
While it's nice to talk about what we want for special occasions, I think the little gifts mean a lot, too. Just last week I received a letter via interoffice mail from a student of mine from two years ago. I retained this child and wondered what happened to him since then since he moved to another school. Apparently the kids were working on writing letters to people they were thankful for and somehow, someway my name came up. He didn't actually write the words "thank you for retaining me" but he did say he was in fourth grade now and happy at the school he was in. I hope this is true and plan to follow up. Corny as it may seem it's unexpected smaller gifts like that really make the season seem bright.