It seems like forever since puberty and the days when my family gave gifts for Christmas, although I’m fairly certain that those events occurred on different timelines. But since us kids got past high school, my family has gone through a series of gift giving evolutions. We started with drawing names to focus our shopping and gift giving efforts, moved to White Elephant gifts, shifted focus to the ‘Phew once my sister had a kid and have just kind of played it by ear since then. He’s 18 now. Probably another gift giving incarnation coming soon.
I come from one of those families that is unitedly split in whether cash and gift cards count as thoughtful gifts or lack that meaningful and personal thoughtfulness. Actually, I think we cared until grandpa dropped the first high dollar value Nordstrom gift card on a daughter in law, his admission that he can gift give for guys like nobody’s business, but shopping for women? That’s a personal growth problem you just throw money at and avoid.
After that particular entry into our family gift giving annals, we kids all looked forward to grandpa showing up at our birthdays and Christmases with fewer boxes, more cards.
Where we’ve settled is into the experience gift. Stuff we can do together.
Last year, the ‘Rents gave a gift of vacation to the family. We spent a week together in Sunriver, my personal favorite Oregon getaway. Of course, us being naturals at planning vacations we managed to accidentally plan our week during the 2017 Eclipse…and Sunriver was basically at 99.9% totality.
This year, the approach is a little more individual. I got a spur of the moment invite from Mom and Dad to go see Jane Lynch when she was in town a couple of weeks ago.
That was a great surprise. It included a bonus dinner at the restaurant in the Heathman Hotel…for all you freaky Fifty Shades fans out there.
The restaurant is a fish house, which isn’t my favorite, but it was literally on the next block. I had scallops and beef cheeks…so good. A few extra perks at the restaurant: a cute lil nugget of a waiter for our table, who Mom insisted spoke only to me <swoon> and the probability that Mr Bill Murray was dining in a closed off but well attended part of the restaurant. That’s few enough degrees of separation to get me excited.
He happened to be at the theater across the street from Jane.
But I was fine with our show. Less crowd, better content for the season…and it was friggin’ fun. That’s coming from someone who used to listen to Christmas music on summer road trips, so let that temper how you interpret my words.
I kinda thought that would be it for my holiday, but – again, spur of the moment like – one of The Fabulous Baker Girls dropped a four pack of theater tix on me to Twist Your Dickens.
She suggested I take my sister and her family, which I thought was a great idea. Especially since it’s also the day of my brother-in-laws birthday.
So we are popping out to that this Wednesday.
The point I’ve been sneaking up on with all this is that what my family does now to celebrate the holidays is way more valued – at least by me – than sitting around smiling while unwrapping presents while inside I feel a little like this
Because at this point I’m my life, the presence of my loved ones is much more rewarding than any present you can wrap.