Friday, December 7, 2007


If you're like me, you have siblings who are--like you--older. As in, no longer a little kid or a teenager. The result of aging is, finding Christmas gifts that are original and useful, as opposed to banal and useless. The other problem is, at this age and stage in life, we usually have everything we need, want, or desire and if we don't have it it's either because a) we can't afford it, b) we can afford it, but we don't want it, or c) we don't need it.

This leaves us in a conundrum when it comes to Christmas shopping and gift giving for siblings. At least, it leaves me in a conundrum. This year is no different than years' past.

It's December 7 and I'm having my own personal Pearl Harbor. Of course, my impending disaster is compounded by the fact that I'm on a tight budget again this year. It's not that I have to get my siblings something--there isn't an expectation or a list of requests, thank goodness (I know people who do that, by the way. Give lists to their friends, family, and barely-connected-except-by-virtue-of-work colleagues. Remind me to tell you a story about that later.) It's just that Christmas isn't any fun without a well-thought-out gift or two from your sister or brother.

So, what to get the sibling who has everything or can afford to get it themselves? And vice versa (because the reverse is true, too. Your siblings come to you and ask, "What would you like for Christmas?" In my case, my answer is always the same: a blank, deer-in-the-headlights stare, followed by a doltishly mumbled, "I-don'-know.") What to get? What to get?

Yeah. I'm drawing blanks in my browser. Again. Could we just dispense with the gift giving and get on with the game playing and food eating and Christmas music listening? That's good enough for me, thanks!


Getting back to that teaser a paragraph or so ago. I worked with someone--I won't say where or when, because anyone reading this blog who worked with me at unmentioned employer will immediately know who I'm talking about--who use to hand out lists. Said Someone would come around in early December and say something like, "I'm getting you a gift this year and here's my list of things I'd like, in case you're looking for ideas about what to get me."

I know many of you are apoplectic right now and saying, "NO WAY!" Um, yeah. Way.

I'd usually get the same deer-in-the-headlights look I give my siblings, only this time it was a "You've got to be kidding, right?!" deer-in-the-headlights look. First, this presumes that I'm going to give you a gift; second, even if I am going to get you a gift, you've just taken all of the fun out of it and made it a perfunctory affair now; and third, what if I can't afford what's on your gift list?

This also plays counter to a personal philosophy I have: with utterly rare exception, I don't give gifts to bosses or colleagues. That aside, though, this one falls into my "Are you serious?!" category. As in, "Wow! I wish I was that ballsy!" Actually, I think I said that once to Said Someone and their reply was, "Well, I know what I want." Um, yeah, that's great, but it's still arrogant and self-serving and inappropriate particularly in light of the fact that a) we're not related, b) we're not married/partnered, and c) we're not even bosom-buddy friends!! Oh, and d) I might not even like you.


But back to the challenge at hand: my blank browser and what to get for siblings who have everything. Any suggestions? 'Cause right now, it's lookin' like six times nothing.


ME said...

Similarly racking brain for what to get the 4 step kids. Movie passes we hope they use during their next visit?

My idea was to get the college-age/bound ones nice sweatshirts from their colleges. The kind they might admire but not have the $$ to pay for. My parents got me a nice one from CGU before I graduated and I heart it. That, and the faux leather portfolio I take to conferences and meetings.

Does that prime the pump any? To facilitate game nights, you could get them some new get-together games, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Wow -- I just got an email from a colleague that said something like: Instead of buying co-workers (read: Me) a gift, please leave a donation for the Humane Society in the jar by my computer.

I never feel compelled to give co-workers gifts. Wierd. It's not like I'm the boss.

For siblings? Wait -- now I can't remember the question. Um... well for my brother I don't buy anything except sometimes a shirt or a hoodie. But I always miscalculate style or size or something. The best thing I can do for my brother is tell him not to buy me anything.

I'm with you -- I just like getting together for food and good times.

- Phoebe

Gunfighter said...

When we left home, the gift-giving stopped. Now my siblings get Christmas cards and a Christmas morning telephone call.