The AAUGH Blogger’s Annual Gifting Philosophy Guide

I write just about the same post every ear. At least, I think I do.I don’t go back an look. But here goes.

  1. Do not let gift gathering ruin your holidays. So many people stress out about finding all the right stuff, finding all the stuff in general, this time of year. And yes, many people like getting gifts… but if these are people that care about you, they would rather not get a gift than to have you stressing out over it. (And if these people don’t care about you, then why are you getting the gifts?) Give of your love, your caring, your kindness, but don’t worry about giving of your credit card.
  2. Giving to a charity they care about is a perfectly legitimate, even noble. Buy them a neighborhood where fewer people are going hungry, a life where one more disease has ben cured, a planet that will sustain life for a little while longer.
  3. Experiences make great gifts. The memory of a concert, a class, a trip or an encounter is apt to last longer than some clever toy that gets used twice and set aside.
  4. If you’re buying physical objects, there is much to be said for buying local. You get to see the very item you’re getting, carry it home immediately… and you support a business in your local community, which in turn supports the community itself.
  5. If you’re buying physical objects for people in other locations, there’s much to be said for online shopping. Simply not having to worry about taking care of shipping is a big one. And if you buy online, there is less of a problem if a gift needs returning than if you bought at some local store. I’ve found it particularly handy when I’ve been going to far away relatives for the holidays; I can order the boxes shipped right to them, rather than having to take gifts on the plane with me.
  6. If you are going to buy online, you’re likely to buy through Amazon. If you do, come here first. When you start your shopping by clicking on any product link on the blog, I end up getting a kickback for anything you purchase during that shopping session, even if it’s not the item that you clicked on. And no, it doesn’t add anything to your price. I use this income to justify that time that i spend on the site, the money that I spend on books to review, and so on. So click on a listing for something like this water heater, and order away! (I’ve got water heaters on the mind because mine looks like it just died. Just before Thanksgiving, with all of those dishes that now can’t be washed through the dishwasher, but I have to heat up water on the stove and wash them all by hand in the sink.)
  7. You’ve got less time than usual to buy before Christmas, because Thanksgiving comes later this year. On the other hand, you’ve got more time than usual to buy before Hannukah, because that is also late this year (starts the evening of December 22.)
  8. I still think buying a preorder is cool. Pick out a book or CD or somesuch that will be coming out in a few months and preorder it for them. On the day of gift-giving, give them a certificate showing what you’ve ordered for them, and they will thank you like they’ve already gotten it. Then when the item arrives in a few months, they’ll thank you again!
  9. Have all the happy holidays that you can muster!
that girl, that ball, that quality

I was walking through the early morning, getting my exercise and listening to the most recent episode of Amicus, my first sampling the podcast of the great journalist Dahlia Lithwick, This episode (and it looks like a few episodes in a row before) was focused on the various ways in which …

Welcome to 2021

  On Christmas, my kids gave me this daily-updatable Peanuts calendar figure – Charlie Brown with a book, how appropriate for me. And this morning I was tempt to set it to DECEMBER 32, just to make it look like the troublesome year that we just went through was going …

The reason for the season

Happy Beethoven’s Birthday! My gift to you on this festive day: this blatantly unlicensed ad from a 1970 issue of The Voice, a Catholic weekly serving the Miami area.