How many shopping days left?

Michael Boylan's picture

I have been racking my brain lately - and yes, this does require stretching it out on a medieval instrument of torture (it actually feels good for the first few turns) - not for column ideas but for Christmas gifts. How could I not be after Black Friday, Gray Saturday and Off-White Sunday? What they say is true, if you don’t have your gifts chosen by Taupe Thursday then you must not really love your loved ones.

It seems like it gets harder and harder to find the right gifts for people, but then again I didn’t really put a lot of thought into gifts for my parents until my teen years. It kind of boiled down to smelly stuff, perfume for mom and cologne or after shave for Dad. I’m sure they appreciated the thought, yet when I wanted to start wearing cologne, there were several mostly full bottles for me to choose from. This was a good thing because, like most teenagers dabbling with the art of aromas, I bathed in the stuff. There was nobody older or spicier smelling than me.

I can’t do smelly stuff for my parents anymore, or ties or homemade ash trays. I know I made lots of ash trays when I was in school and in hindsight this was very silly because my parents did not smoke. I think my mom would have started just to be nice, but, like most kids, I soon forgot about the gifts I gave and focused on the gifts I received.

Now there are even more people to shop for.

My wife and I decided to buy ourselves a new camera and then just get a few small items for under the tree and in our stockings. We’re talking five, $1 pair of sunglasses small or pens that dispense candy small. We have also decided to not go crazy on gifts for our son. He still doesn’t understand the whole Christmas thing and he gets spoiled rotten by his grandparents, so there is really no need for us to load him up with even more toys. I also have to help determine what to get my in-laws and for every brilliant idea I have - smoked ham (sorry, I can’t really tell you, my mother in law reads my columns religiously) I get gift giver’s block on all the others.

I will give out this awesome tip for everyone out there who is struggling with finding a good gift. I got a great book last year “1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” It is jammed with information on 1,001 books and it gives voracious readers like myself ideas on where to find great books and my next favorite author. I had read over 60 books on the list and had a goal of reaching 101 by the end of the year. I will not make it. I am at something like 91 or 92, but I will keep using it as a source for finding new stuff to read and I highly recommend it to everyone. Seriously, I know I’ve shown it to one group of our friends at least four times already.

It has led me to some pretty great books - such as “Tarzan of the Apes” (and yes, I’m completely serious. If you’ve only seen a movie, you have to read this book) and the works of Paul Auster, who is quite possibly one of the most under-rated authors of all time. His books will just kill you with how amazing they are. He has five or six books on this list and each one I read was better than the last.

“1,001 Books” has truly been the gift that keeps on giving, so I’m trying to find things like this for my family members. And that is why I think smoked ham is such a good choice.

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