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Are You Sure You Don’t Just Want A Corkscrew for Christmas? Because I’m Pretty Sure I Can Make That Happen.

Here are my thoughts on gift-giving.  Because I know you care.

I think we all know, by this point, that an efficient shopper I am not.  This is why I’m terrified of Black Friday and why it took me approximately 5 hours to buy blinds for the kitchen online when I set out to buy curtains for the bedroom.

And why I still don’t have curtains for the bedroom.

The problem is that I love giving gifts.

I mean… who doesn’t like hearing that someone is happy because of something you gave them?

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say gift-giving is inherently selfish for that reason, but it’s completely awesome selfishness because the recipient happens to benefit as well.

But, when I set out to find some kind of appropriate gift for specific dates and events (ie. Christmas, birthdays, weddings, etc.), I feel all pressured and sweaty and confined and if I’m shopping in public, I might get a wily look in my eye that makes people — even crowds — give me a 3-foot berth and run the other direction when I try to ask them whether they think Aunt Betsy would prefer the red-knit socks from Macy’s, or if I should just go back and get the ones from Target because they’re $3 cheaper and she’ll never know anyway and CRAP did I just buy her socks last year because she’s always complaining that her feet are cold?, and I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to buy her anything red ever because it triggers the pyro tendencies and don’t-look-at-my-eye-twitch-because-clearly-everyone-ELSE-in-my-family-is-crazy-but-not-me-not-ME!

If I’m shopping online, the ordeal is even worse (though decidedly less detrimental to the general public).  I basically start with one idea, then spend hours following internet wormholes and reading reviews and finding the best deal without shipping and then with shipping and then one reviewer said I should maybe try this other item instead and the process starts all over until finally I throw my computer out of the window and pour a glass of wine.

And now, to complicate matters even more, all these babies are popping into my life.  (And they definitely didn’t come with kalamatas or 6-packs.)

Like *I* know what to buy for babies.

Look, kid.  Until your mom lets me take you to your first concert, Auntie Katie only gives out books (which you’ll probably hate until you’re in your 20’s), hugs (although they’ll probably feel awkward because I didn’t grow up in a huggy family), and advice about life (which you never asked for because you know it will be the truth, and no one wants to hear that).

Also, maybe one day I’ll let you borrow my cool thrift-store leather jacket.

Registries do make things easier when it comes to events like weddings and baby showers.  In fact, I’m kind of in love with registries and think that maybe people should keep one all of the time, like in the form of an Amazon.com wishlist, where I can just easily type in their name, see what they want, and a couple of clicks later I’m chillin’ on the sofa with the cerveza and olives that didn’t come with a baby.

But that does take the fun out of gift-giving.  After all, if the recipient already knows what she’s getting, and I don’t get to see that surprised-yet-thrilled look on her face or receive that thankyou-thankyou-thankyou phone call that makes giving gifts so damn gratifying.

Hey.  I’m just being honest.

So I really think we should just abolish this whole gift thing altogether.

Well, not all-together.  But we should stop with the obligatory gift-giving.

Sometimes, when I’m walking through a farmer’s market or a foreign book store or perusing pictures on Pinterest, I find the perfect gift for someone.

I mean, I’m pretty sure this person has to have this gift, and he has to have it right now.

The problem?  It’s June.

And his birthday was in May.

And Christmas isn’t for another 6 months.

And anyway, he’s Jewish.

So now I have to either save the darn thing until next year so I’m not short a gift when the nerves hit because there’s too much pressure, OR I can just give it to him now.  And now worry about whether or not I’ve found something for his next birthday.

And the thing about gift-giving excitement is, sometimes it doesn’t keep.  Maybe the recipient will no longer need this item next year, or maybe he’ll have new interests entirely, or maybe he’ll be dead, or maybe worse you’ll be dead, and the intended recipient will find the gift tucked away in your closet, and he’ll know who it was for because it was just that perfect, and now he can never get any enjoyment out of it because every time he sees it he’ll be reminded of how you were shot in a mall parking lot when you walked up to a patron muttering about red socks and arson and you twitched a lot so he thought maybe you had rabies so he did what he had to do to protect his family.

These things happen.

All because we’re supposed to give gifts when the time is right — not when the gift is right.

And really, what’s better than receiving a gift when you don’t expect it?

But I’m thinking that all of this is probably just me.

Because I’m an inefficient shopper.

Do they have support groups for this?

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Katie

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Comments

Nate
Reply

Hey Katie! I´m in a hostel in Lima at the moment. Awaiting my flight back to the States very early in the morning (4:00am lucky me! hah) but anyways a couple bloggers recently nominated me for something called the Versatile Blogger Award. I´m not 100% sure what this is hahaha but as part of it I had to nominate others so I included you. If you find yourself looking for a post to write, it is at least semi fun to do :P. Check out the rules here if you want: http://mytravelmap.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/the-versatile-blogger-award/

P.s. sooo many awesome photos to share from the Inca Trail! Can´t wait to get back to blog about it.

Nate

Katie
Reply

Aww, thanks Nate! I seriously can’t wait to read your posts!!

Solitary Diner
Reply

It’s not just you. I could’ve written this post about myself…if I were as eloquent and funny as you are, that is. I hate the mandatory gift giving of holidays.

Katie
Reply

I’m SO glad I’m not alone. And thank you for the compliment. :)

laxsupermom
Reply

I’m a big believer in buying those perfect somethings and giving them just because. Even if the friend I am thinking of and I don’t do the obligatory gift exchange for birthdays and Christmas. In fact I picked up a magnet the other day for a friend, not for Christmas, but just because. It had an image from The Onion of a tiny kitten and a caption that read, “Kitten only thinks of murder all day long.” Sounds dumb, but it’s perfect.

As for those obligatory baby gifts, I like Think Geek for the stuff you can’t or don’t want to find at the mall.

Katie
Reply

Haha, that kitten gift is awesome. Mostly because I think it’s true. And I will definitely check out that website — thank you!

Kat Richter
Reply

Oh Katie, you make me laugh :) ‘Specially that last paragraph about getting shot . I generally “shop my way home” from the bus stop this time of year, which takes inefficiency to a whole new level so don’t feel bad!

Katie
Reply

See to me, if you can manage to actually buy decent gifts on your way home, that is extremely efficient. :)

RHome410
Reply

So, on Facebook your post title only had room for “Are You Sure You Don’t Just Want a Corkscrew for Christmas? Because I’m Pretty Sure I Can Make That.” So I had to rush over here and see how you were MAKING corkscrews! Or what you meant that wasn’t like how it sounded…

I love giving gifts… The ‘right’ gifts. Unfortunately, there are one or two of the kids each year for which several things would be amazing gifts. But for the others, I can’t think of anything special. It’s frustrating.

Katie
Reply

Ha! So sorry to disappoint. But if it makes you feel better, your comment made me spend a good 10 minutes trying to figure out whether or not I really could make a corkscrew… ;)

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