Two Cents Worth – Dec 23, 2015

I find that each year it becomes harder and harder to figure out what to give people for Christmas. Theoretically it should be easy, determining what items your loved ones may want, but as many of you know, its anything but. Because they’re your loved ones you want to do something really nice and special for them, so the pressure is ON.

It’s beyond helpful when someone just tells me exactly what they want, but does that take the “special” out of the gift?  In a perfect world, you should take time to really think about the individual and what they might want. What interests do they have? What items do they need? What items to do they need and they don’t even know they need them? To get the perfect gift for someone is an art form.

My wife isn’t the biggest fan of gift cards. Oh, she doesn’t mind receiving them of course, but she hates giving them. She says its lazy. I disagree. Oftentimes I can’t think of a specific item someone may want, but I know they shop someplace a lot and may appreciate some spending cash at their favorite store. I think a gift card, while perhaps not as personal as a specific item, does show more effort than just giving cash because you acknowledge that they know where you like to shop.

With that said though, cash is king. Let’s face it, as much as politicians like to convince us that the economy is bouncing back, its still hard to make ends meet these days. Every time you get ahead, life comes along with another bill to help smack you back down. So while cash may seem like an impersonal gift, its easily the most universally helpful.

Personally, I have an amazon.com wishlist where I keep track of items that I have determined I’d like to own. I mostly do so for my own use so that I can remember things like books and films, and circle back to them later for purchase. However, my list is set up so my loved ones can look at it. They don’t have to use it, but its a crutch that’s always there. I wish everyone had a list of items you could fall back on…

Then there are those people you just can’t figure out at all. They’re the ones who buy themselves whatever they want when they want it so there’s never an opportunity for you to get them something. These are the people you really need to think long and hard about, and, more often than not, just get a gift card from someplace and hope they find something nice. I hate doing this but once that December 25 deadline starts getting close, you’ve got to figure out SOMETHING.

They say its the thought that counts, but what happens when that thought never arrives and you have to give something you’re not happy with? I wrestle with this every year. But, its a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe 2015 will bring a gift card, but hopefully 2016 will bring that inspired gift that really impresses.

But hey, it could always be worse for all of you busy little elves. I not only have to buy Christmas gifts for everyone, but that day is also my wife’s birthday. No pressure…

Stay safe and enjoy your holidays. Merry Christmas everyone.