I just returned from last minute holiday shopping, actually, even though I’m Jewish, I can actually call it Christmas shopping as I’ll be spending Christmas Day in San Francisco with my Mom, my sister, her husband and their son (the most important person in the Golden State whose adorable mug has appeared multiple times on this blog).
Given that my brother-in-law celebrates Christmas, word is there’ll be some kind of festivities at their home. So, today, I made sure to buy presents for all and sundry. Until this afternoon, I never fully realized how draining gift-buying and present-wrapping can be. It may well have been that I had no idea what I was getting for anyone, save my brother-in-law, until I set out on my various errands. The good news is that I was also able to find presents for a niece and nephew whose birthdays are coming up.
I did learn today that one should never go to Target two days before Christmas. Farmer’s Market was manageable, but the Grove was hectic. I did find gifts for all, things that relate to family member’s various passions, tastes and preferences, but, given how much I spent, regret that I didn’t find any “home-run” gifts. I mean, I always try to get something perfect for someone, such that when they open it up, their face will light up, knowing that their uncle, brother or son knew what they loved, having bought something that they really wanted.
But, it seems that whenever I do find such perfect gifts, I wasn’t searching for them and end up finding them in seasons when gifts aren’t normally exchanged and birthdays are far off. Nearly two years ago, in Vegas, while visiting the Venetian with friends, I chanced on a store selling various Italian tchotchkes, specializing, it seemed in masks for Carnivale. There I saw a mask with a curving musical score painted on it. It seemed perfect for Mom, an opera buff,who loves such masks.
So, I bought it for her. Today, when I was looking, I found something I thought she would like, but it didn’t seem as unique, not nearly as special, as that particular gift.
That wasn’t the only time I found what seemed the perfect gift when I wasn’t looking. I am now looking at a picture of the third youngest PatriotNephewWest with a huge smile on his face as he clutches a flashlight shaped like a fire truck when I saw in a toy store long after his birthday (when I was looking for a gift for one of his cousins). The moment I saw it, I knew he would love it. And I was right.
Maybe gift-buying wouldn’t be so draining if we didn’t have to think about what someone would like. For it really does seem that you don’t find the best gifts, but they find you.