I was asked an odd question by a long-time friend the other day. He asked, 'Joe, what are your favorite gifts?" I say odd because I don't really like the gift recieving part of the holidays, and he knows it. I enjoyed getting gifts as a child, but as an adult things got a little weird when I realized how much effort went into the whole commercialized Christmas thing. Besides the negative aspics of over shopping in December, I think the reason I'm off gifts is that most gifts are just not something I'm interested in. Be it well-meaning ties or manicure sets, gifts like this all seem like a waste of time and money. My wife and kids usually mange to nail it though. Take this year for example. They kept it small and simple. I love the Innova Boss disc my son gave me, and the gaming mouse from my wife too. They were both small and practical gifts, which are perfect in my book. Plus, they did not waste hours inside a mall shopping for that perfect gift.
I would rather give a good small gift; like something I've made or something that reflects our shared connections, than the lasted tech toy or bauble. As for friend-to-friend gift giving. I'd rather share a meal and a few beers and call it done. Still, I wanted to answer my friend, so this is what I told him.
1. Books: I am a reader. Nothing pleases me more that the gift of a book. My mom gave me the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe last night. Talk about perfect. I'll read it the rest of my life. Books are a great gift. Plus, I keep them in my ever-growing library.
2. Knives: I love a good knife. I have a good-sized collection, but the gift of a new knife is always appreciated. Take my simple Frontier U.S.A pocket knife. A friend spent $25 on it as a birthday gift 10-years ago. I've carried it, or had it close, ever since. It's practical and if cared for, will last me a lifetime.
3. Discs: I play disc golf. Discs are inexpensive and always appreciated. They don't last forever… I hit a lot of trees, but they are practical and will see a lot of use.
4. Scotch & Cigars - What can I say, I like scotch and a good cigar.
Part of my disapproval of large scale holiday gift giving is the spectacle. I watch the madness associated with Black Friday and the endless mall parking lots full of frenzied shoppers and think, why am I participating in the mass crassness? My idea of a Holliday celebration is what I did last night and what I will do again in a few hours. Last night, we cooked a prime rib roast and some Hobbit inspired side dishes for our parents. We talked and ate until the old folks needed to go home for the night. Tonight, I will do the same at a family party with 70 of my closest relatives. I'll eat and talk until I'm too tied to do it any more, and then I'll call it a night. A few small gifts will change hands too. If I'm lucky I'll get a book or some booze.
Happy holidays folks and keep it simple.