Every site has a gift-guide, it seems, and why should I be any different? Because I’m ALWAYS THE SAME, that’s why. Easy on the brain and forever marching in lockstep with all the other fish-kettle drummers, that’s me.
So, here’s my gift guide for 2008, and because it will never change, 2009, 2010, and for however long after that that there isn’t an extinction event. (That’s called efficiency, my friends.)
If you like someone enough to want to hold out something once a year (or more) that says something nice that simply saying something nice won’t do, well, TIME is your answer. Yes yes, you can give gifts, and that works, but not really as well, plus it’s expensive. TIME as a gift works for lovers, parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and near-strangers equally well, and with a few tips you can’t get it wrong. Here’s how you give TIME as the perfect present, every time:
– Actually stop other things for a period of TIME and use it only to think about your giftee. Consider what they mean to you, what their life is like right now, and what might make them a bit happier. Keep doing this until something that will make them a bit happier occurs to you that it’s within your power to do.
– Be prepared to realize that the thing that will make them happiest is to SPEND TIME WITH YOU. If you’re thinking honestly, you’ll be surprised at how often this is true. But duh, people who love or like you tend to want your company!
– Sometimes what would make someone happy is a note or other keepable message from you (a memento of TIME that you spent thinking about them), or an item that will remind them of TIME you spent together, or a promise to spend TIME together later, doing something special or enjoyable to them. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving the TIME to cook a meal, stay over for a weekend, or make it to their Xmas party. Sometimes you can give your TIME as a babysitter, tour guide, artist, or what have you. The beauty of this is that, if you take the TIME to think about it, you’ll know exactly what you should give.
– Once you’ve realized what form of TIME that you’re able to provide would make the person you’re considering happiest, take the TIME to procure it. You won’t be able to spend forever on everybody (TIME has a budget, too), but just as you would with money, give what you can, and to prove how much you love the people really close to you, give a lot.
– Yes, this does work with kids too. If the kid on your list would appreciate a toy from you, they’d appreciate a trip to buy the toy and a stop for ice cream a hundred times more; and the trip minus the toy would probably be just great, too. TIME with caring grownups is the currency of childhood, and who doesn’t like being made richer?
So there you have it. The endlessly-flexible, fits-any-budget, perfect and sincere and meaningful gift you can give over and over and it never gets old. Sure, buy presents if that’s what you like, but always keep that one in your back pocket as a never-fail, and hopefully it’ll spare you some holiday angst.
And a special message to all my homies in the middle of an economic crisis…don’t ever feel too broke for the holidays. You’ve got enough to give to everyone.