I happened to be in a local store on Saturday, idly searching for I didn’t know what—anything that might strike me as a good gift for someone on my Christmas list. Not that I had an actual written list, only a vague thought that I had yet to buy anything for A, B or C.
And there it was: the perfect garment, jammed into a rack alongside a bevy of others that would not have been perfect. This garment—a sweatshirt, actually—was the only one in this particular design. And it was even the right size.
It remains to be seen if the person I bought it for actually likes it. But at least I can add a (mental) checkmark to my (nonexistent) list and feel that I found something cool for this one friend.
I haven’t completed my Christmas shopping yet. In the tradition of my mother, who always began her holiday buying in August, I’ve picked up a few things in the past couple of months and ordered other items online. But I still have a way to go.
Mom had a lengthy Christmas list, buying not just for family but also for a host of friends and colleagues—for years, she did a dollar-gift exchange with a dozen or so people at work. Expert shopper that she was, she was a genius at sniffing out cute, funky, unique little items that were so quirky you had to love them. We got them as stocking stuffers and I still treasure the mini cat-shaped tin she found for me years ago. It’s a dead ringer for my kitten Moe.
I too enjoy finding the little gifts—the Mom-style stocking stuffers. For larger presents, I rack my brain.
It’s harder than ever to buy for people because by and large, none of us needs anything—or if we do, we go out and buy it ourselves. When we were kids we might get socks and underwear among our Christmas presents, simply because we needed socks and underwear. Nowadays, no one finds undies under the Christmas tree unless they’re in a big pink box from Victoria’s Secret.
My niece Cynthia has told me not to buy clothes for her kids for a while—she has enough for all three of them into the foreseeable future. So we wrote a check for shoes, which they do need, and also got a small gift for each child: a build-a-robot for the elder son, who’s a mechanical genius; a singing Elsa doll for our grandniece; and a noisy toy you can bang on for the baby.
“Rob and I were curious so we ended up opening everything,” Cynthia messaged me after receiving the package. “It was almost like Christmas for us. The kids will love it all! For you guys not having kids, you really hit the mark.”
It was good to know we weren’t completely clueless as aunt and uncle. Now, if I could only think of what to get for the other missing links on my list.