Christmas is fast approaching.
I still have not done any Christmas shopping. It's on the to-do list but when I get to that list, I do not know. I don't want to brag, but I am pretty awesome at buying gifts. I can't take credit for it though, mostly I just remember what people have said.
My Dad thinks I get it from my Mum's Mother. But Grandma said that her memory wasn't that good, and that her Grandfather had a photographic memory. Mine is definitely not anywhere near a good as that.
One trick I do use from time to time is the classic pen and paper. Well actually, its a digital list really. If someone mentions something very specific then I will write it down. There is a Chinese proverb: the palest ink is better than the best memory. It sure is easy to off load some of that memory horsepower to a digital list. Those moments to write something down is well worth it when you give someone a present from an obscure reference they made months ago, and you see their face light up. It is not about the gift, it is that they appreciated that you paid attention to them.
Depending on the level of closeness to the person depends on how much effort you need to put it. I find that remembering people's wine preference is an easy place to start. Do they like a particular type, a pinot noir, chardonnay, etc? Do they like wine from a particular region? Did they mention a store that they like, vouchers are great. Maybe they mentioned some fancy French hand made (insert bizarre or niche hobby here) and you get something from there.
The people really close to you, you need to be paying more attention. Everyone drops hints of their preferences, but they can change from week to week, or month to month so you just have to be extra vigilant when they discuss things they like or that appeal to them.
Also, make sure the gift reflects you as well. I am a big reader, some people call me a nerd, so I like to give books. But again, you gotta read the room. Some people will appreciate the thought, others will just use a book as a doorstop. Both are fine, but you do want your gift to at least be used and experienced.
You don't have to spend money, lord know I don't have any of it to spend, but I can cook. I usually offer parents of new borns a night where I will cook and clean for them. Everyone gives them little cute shoes and baby clothes which the kid grows out of in 2 days.
Most people don't know how to take the offer but I just say, when it all gets too much and you want a night to relax you call me and I will take care of everything. They all say how lovely it was to relax and that because I make so much food they had lots of left overs for lunch and dinner.
I have found that a well thought out present, that has some meaning, represents the bond you have, and acknowledges that you care and pay attention to the person is way better received than some thoughtless expensive present.
Show those people that you care about them by putting some care and thought into a gift for them this Christmas.
Moments of Gratitude.
How lucky are we to be in New Zealand. I have a lot of friends living in the US and seeing their lives relative to ours. The death and despair they face and also the lack of comity of man. We are so lucky to be over here right now.
Shave well, be awesome, have a great summer.