Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Giving Guide for Grumps

Oh, did you hope I was going to write one for you? I wish I could. If someone could put together a Gift Giving Guide for Grumps, I'd be eternally grateful.

There are three people on my list to whom I must give gifts. Cash is not an option. Nothing seems to be an option.

The first level of gift-giving, in my opinion, is to give someone stuff. Thoughtful, nice, potentially useful but mostly decorative stuff that the recipient will like, will smile when they see, and best of all, would never have purchased for him or herself. Such as this camera lens mug or this mushroom plate. Or jewelry. Or clothing (as long as you're sure about their size.) Books. Movies. Music. Gadgets.

There are also gift recipients who only want something purely useful, such as a vacuum cleaner.

More and more, the recipients of my gifts have too much stuff. They are trying to de-clutter. They live in small spaces. They plan to move within the next twelve months. They don't have room for stuff. For these people, I usually give them something that will get used up. Again, it's great if this isn't something they'd normally get for themselves. When I'm giving gifts, this tends to be food. Homemade cookies. Non-perishable gourmet staples, like Oregon hazelnut oil or lavender honey. It's hard to go wrong with Subcategory: Booze. Here is where fancy wine and beer belong.

And finally, for people who have too much stuff, permanent or use-up-able, you can give the gift of an experience. A homemade "coupon" to go out to lunch together. This is my favorite: a membership to a local museum or botanical garden. This gift, however, is not a good idea for individuals who never leave the house, or at least only leave the house for outings that fit into a prescribed routine.

What gifts do you give to individuals who have a house full of stuff, have still not used the use-up-able stuff you've given them in the past*, and never leave the house outside of their prescribed routine -- would in fact be offended at the suggestion that they might enjoy themselves during a special outing.....What do you do!?


* Example A: The individuals have specifically instructed you, "Hey, stop giving us those little jars for Christmas!"
Example B: When you go to the liquor cabinet to refill the tabletop wine carafe from the Carlo Rossi jug, you notice dust-encrusted bottles lining the shelves, and recognize them as the same you bought for the last ten Christmases.

I invite you, my readers, to discuss. Are there any grumps to whom you must give gifts this year? What gifts have you given grumps in the past? Were your attempts successful or unsuccessful? Were you met with polite thanks or brazen ungratefulness? Discuss!

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