By Peter Andrew
Bah humbug. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with the holidays. It's great when people observe the religious elements, exchange cards, eat too much, drink too much and give joy and wonder to children in the form of seasonal spirit and extravagant presents. After all, most kids have just two opportunities a year to have their material dreams fulfilled, and only one comes with seasonal magic.
Get a grip, grown-ups
But it's different when it comes to gifts for adults. When you want something, don't you just save up (or get out the plastic) and buy it? Do you really think someone else could do a better job of buying the thing you want? It's not as if the exchange of gifts between grown-ups isn't a zero-sum game: You're almost always trying to guess how much the other person's going to spend so you can match it. And, if you get it wrong, don't you even things up the following year?
After years of faking happiness over slightly off (or downright bad) gifts, adults in my circle of family and friends have agreed on a $15 holiday present cap for each other. Amazingly, some of the inexpensive ones I've received remain precious many years later.
Unless they're your own, it can remain very difficult to buy gifts for kids. Of course, that's been the case since the very beginning. One wise man turned up in 1st century Bethlehem with gold, but the other wise guys decided on frankincense and myrrh. And, Read the full article »