Soon be time to shift into "gifting gear"

This month we step into fall. You know what that means – Christmas can’t be far behind. I begin the month by vowing to pick up a few items each month for gift giving so the Holidays won’t be so stressful. This year I’m actually going to do it.

But before I stock up on bottles of “Eau de Costco” for my friends and family, I’m going to put serious thought into my selections. I’m taking cues from my sons who are the “Kings of Gift Giving.” After reading my column on the lost remote control last week, one gave me a gift to resolve this problem once and for all. He bought me a huge remote – measures about eight inches wide and a foot long. No way I can lose this remote! As a bonus, I can now read the numbers without my specks.

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With Lucky Dawg and the remote in my chair, there’s no room for me!

My other son felt sorry for me because I had to drive across town one time too many to ask him to open a stuck pickle jar, so he gave me an automatic jar opener. Now wasn’t that the most thoughtful thing? (Or did he just get tired of me showing up at all hours with the cantankerous jars?)

My friend Carolyn said her children gave her a new oil pan for her birthday. I was envisioning a sleek stainless steel sauté pan, but neew, she said it was for her car! Still, she needed a new one and they delivered.

Suddenly, I remembered when I was about five. I was visiting my grandmother on her birthday. My grandfather gave her some new bathroom scales and a box of candy. Even at the tender age of five, I knew that didn’t compute.

All this got me thinking – getting a gift is like being set up on a blind date. Like it or not, your friend or family member is sending you a message telling you in a coded way what they think you want, what you deserve and, on some level, who they think you are.

Last year a thoughtful friend gave me a sweater in day-glo yellow. Now, I make no bones about the fact that I detest the color yellow. I don’t even plant yellow flowers in my garden. I the sweater once and felt like a prehistoric popsickle. She, on the other hand looks stunning in yellow, so I let her borrow it and we both conveniently forgot to whom it belonged.

So before you purchase clothing you might want to observe what color and style the recipient typically wears. If you’ve never seen them wear orange, I would steer away from that orange sweater even if it is on sale for $3.99!

A book is usually a safe and welcome gift, but once again, consider the message it will send your loved one. One of the best books I’ve run across this year is “The Messie’s Manual,” but I wouldn’t recommend giving that to anyone you happen to like. Ditto on diet books for someone a little overweight. No no!

And be very careful about re-gifting. You might end up giving that salad shooter to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

And one more thing. I promise not to buy my children socks this Christmas. I always put a pair or two in their stockings (never mind that they are in their 30s). Last year, they both left their socks in the gift bag along with the ripped and torn wrapping paper. I ended up wearing their socks on a cold January evening.

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