Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gift Shopping Frenzy

The holiday season is almost upon us, and you know what that means. Everyone gets a gift!

I’m not good at gifts. First of all, I don’t like to shop. Unless it’s books or kitchen stuff for myself. Second, I am not good at listening to others and making note of the books, music or games they’re coveting, and have to ask outright, “What do you want?” or go with a (Thank-God-they-make-them-or-you’d-all-get-sausage-and-cheese-gift-sets) gift card.

Almost everyone collects something. Figurines, sports memorabilia, antique hat pins. Makes it easy to shop for them for Christmas and birthdays—just buy the latest bear figurine in the collection. But I didn’t collect anything. (Well, books. I find them everywhere—gift shops, antique shops, even in actual book stores. And, no, I’m not a book hoarder. Don’t listen to my husband; I never do.)

People have tried to force me to collect things. When I asked my 90-year-old grandmother for something meaningful to remember her by, she gave me an ugly frog figurine. People thought it was so funny my one heirloom was a hideous frog they started bringing me more.

Then I confessed my loathing for squirrels (see my blog post Squirrel Dreams for my rational and intellectual reasons why), and certain family members now look for squirrelly items to torture me with.

So in self defense I decided on a collection I could live with, nightmare-free. (If that doesn’t make sense to you, I remind you of the Squirrel Dreams post mentioned previously. Now maybe you’ll listen the first time I tell you something.) I settled on salt and pepper sets.

But then I added a codicil. Not just any salt and pepper sets. They had to mean something to me, such as the oxen/covered wagon ones to honor my obsession with the 1800s pioneer journey west. Asparagus ones to memorialize the two summers I spent as a teenager picking asparagus for a cool $1/hour. Corn ones for the incredible sweet corn Uncle LaVern grew and shared with us.

My insistence that the s&p’s mean something to me, though, makes it nearly impossible for others to add to my collection. Oops. Kind of defeated my purpose. So last Christmas most of my gifts were books or gift cards to bookstores.

I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried.

Remember, if you don’t want a lovely sausage and cheese gift basket it’s time to throw obvious hints my way. Let the holiday shopping frenzy begin!


  1. And now, with the Kindle, you can even get a digital gift card and shop the endless bookstore that is Amazon.

    I'm like you (except for squirrels), I don't like to shop. But I do make an effort to find gifts that will please my family. Sometimes I'm off base, sometimes it's on target. Go figure.

  2. That was a great blog to get me into the Christmas Spirit. We are currently in Corsicana and will leave around noon AFTER we hit the Collin Street Bakery (the most widely distributed fruitcake in the world) and the Navarro Pecan Company (largest pecan-shelling plant in the world, with over 50 million pounds of pecans processed each year). Both my father AND Tom's father sent the Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes to their business friends and family every year. Amazing since one father was in Vernon, TX and the other in Urbana, IL. Off to do our Christmas shopping! If you don't like fruitcake, just wait a month and use it as a door stop.

  3. Carole--Love Amazon. Especially when someone adds their wish list to it!

    Anne Schumann--You hit all the hot spots! Have you been to Claxton's? They do a fair amount of fruitcake selling, too. Not to me, of course. Even if I liked the stuff I wouldn't dare admit it.

  4. Oh Valerie, I have to go back up to that store on Hwy 11 and find the squirrel salt and pepper shakers that we saw last time! ;) Don't worry, I won't.

    I don't like shopping.I don't mind doing it at Christmas as long as I can get in and out with minimal shoving and pushing. One Christmas season working at the mall will do that to you.
    As for gifts, I like to come up with something that jumps out at me, but a lot of my family like to produce lists. Ugh. No fun in that. I want inspiration, but only if it's fast.

  5. Barbara--I was hoping you'd forgotten the s&p's! Those would haunt me!

  6. I'm with you, Val--I hate to shop. The last few years, I've done 99% of my Christmas shopping online. Point, click, they deliver it to the door.

    I love your strategy. You can never have too many bookstore gift cards. :)