Today is my son’s fourth birthday, and as usual, I have indicated quite strongly that no gifts are expected at his little party. He’ll get several from us that he can open. In the past, I’ve tried to curb the gift influx by asking people to make a donation toward a gift of two goats for a family in a remote village. Fail. Someone always brings a gift, anyway. The last couple of years, I have requested no toys, but if someone is really motivated to spend money on my already over-priveleged children, gift certificates to local ice-cream parlors or such eateries are appreciated. Partial win. Most people like this idea, but we still get the odd gift. Some of them have been pretty darn cool, like underwater cameras or an unusual book, such as the entire Narnia series in Español.
This is going to sound really bitchy–in general, I hate presents. The only thing I hate more is a surprise present. If you’ve been reading my somewhat irregular Sunday posts, you know I struggle to keep possessions to a minimum. It’s the rare person who can find an all-around useful gift for me. That black patent-leather wallet that my awesome friend gave me for Christmas–you know who you are–THAT was the perfect surprise gift, especially since I adore anything that comes in “shiny black.” My husband informed me tonight that I have a surprise coming soon, but I appreciate that he gave me a heads up. He’s been married to me for 17 years, so I think that he knows how to pick ’em.
The gifts that mean the most are the ones that can be used up, such as a nice food or toiletry item. Time with a friend having coffee or through a handmade gift is the most valuable. Plants are awesome, although I have sadly allowed many of them to die. Kids’ gifts are a whole ‘nother thing. Partly, I don’t want to add more stuff to my house. Partly, my kids don’t need anything and millions of other children worldwide do. Partly, and here’s the bitchy part, I don’t want to be involuntarily overrun by someone else’s bad taste. I’m picky. Even when it comes to my kids’ stuff. I know what I value and what I don’t. More importantly, my kids need to know that just because they like something, it doesn’t mean it owns a spot in our house. Really, if you are out and about and see something on a store shelf that reminds you of any of us, please do the following: SAY A PRAYER FOR US AND PUT IT BACK ON THE SHELF!!!
(Unless you are at the car dealership and see a lovely 7-seater SUV in shiny black that would look smashing on me. Love you, Babe!)