Christmas shopping, philosophically speaking
Updated: November 15, 2012 7:42AM
Now that that pesky presidential election is over, it’s time to concentrate on what’s really important.
But before you can shop, you have to decide what to get friends and family, collectively known as loved ones.
There are two philosophies of gift-giving:
1. Ask your loved ones to provide you with a verbal or written list of what they want. You then buy from the list.
2. Don’t ask. From your knowledge of your loved ones’ likes and dislikes, you deduce what they might appreciate as a gift and buy that.
The list approach works particularly well with children. In fact, making a list for Santa is a Christmas custom. Kids are fussy and herd-like and want exactly what the other kids want. To attempt to use your own moldy adult mind to figure out for yourself what kids want – or worse yet, to impose on a kid what you think he or she ought to want – that way lies madness.
It’s a little more complicated with adults.
On the one hand, it is nice to give a gift you are sure the recipient would like because he or she said so.
On the second hand, exchanging lists has the aroma of a business transaction.
On the third hand, just buying a gift you think he or she might like is fraught with peril.
You may not know your loved one as well as you think you do. He or she might hate the gift.
Or, you may very well know your loved one as well as you think you do. You might get a gift he or she already has.
It’s a puzzle, all right.
Luckily, gifts bought in accordance with either gift-giving philosophy may be returned, with the proper receipt and subject to the store’s return policy, and maybe a restocking fee, and perhaps shipping and handling.
You could always avoid this philosophical dilemma by not giving gifts. It worked for Scrooge, for a while.
Or, maybe you are among the millions of people who are out of work and thus fortunate in being able to avoid the entire problem because you can’t afford to buy Christmas presents for your loved ones.
Some people have all the luck.
Everyone else will just have to do what they can when selecting and buying Christmas presents for loved ones.
And hope for the best.