I’m pretty sure most of us at some time or another have faced the Christmas season wondering what on earth they’re going to get for that person who’s impossible to shop for. You know the one. Either they have everything already, or they just don’t want anything. Impossible!
So don’t shop.
I’m not talking about being a scrooge and saying “fine, I’m not getting you anything”, I’m saying don’t buy them anything.
I’ve heard complaints year in year out that Christmas is so commercialized, and it’s just another excuse for stores to try and sell us stuff. Listening to some of the forced ads on the radio I get where they’re coming from, but why let it happen?
My dad is the epitome of the hard to shop for person. He never wants anything. He usually has all of the tools he needs for his various projects. He doesn’t wear a tie. He doesn’t have any vices. Basically, he’s really hard to shop for.
I figured I had it all looked after this year. I was going to order him a bunch of DVDs from National Geographic about sports car factories and how things are built. He loves shows like that! I was giving myself a good solid pat on the back when I hit buy on their website.
You can imagine how I felt when a window popped up saying that the DVDs couldn’t be shipped outside of the US. First of all, why the hell not? And second of all, what am I going to do now???
So I stewed.
Then I had an epiphany.
Dad doesn’t want any more stuff.
Who would have thought that it would take me this long to actually understand what he’s been saying my entire life? He doesn’t want things, he has enough things. He wants to see us and spend time with his family. He wants to know that everyone is doing alright. He wants to know that we’re happy.
I’d been so wrapped up in trying to figure out what to buy him, that I was looking in the wrong place. He doesn’t want more stuff. He wants more time with us.
Living in a different province can make it difficult to spend time with my family. Dad isn’t big on talking on the phone, and he is one of the last people on the planet you’d ever get to text. Driving to see them is about 1500km round trip, and the flights are obscenely expensive. Mom drives down to the city to go shopping, but I usually only see dad once or twice a year. It sucks, really.
So, I’m writing to him. A lot. Come Christmas morning there will be a stack of 52 envelopes tied together under the tree; enough that every Monday morning before heading in to work he can open another letter from his eldest daughter. Some of the letters are one or two sentences long, reminding him that I love him. Others fill the card. There are no duplicates. Now I’ll be able to talk to my dad all year, even if I’m not there in person.
I’m staunchly pro-Christmas, and I don’t believe that consumerism rules the holiday. I’m big on gifting, and I’m 100% guilty of showering people with gifts to show them I love them, but it’s not just about how much money you’re spending on someone. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to give to a person. I’ve knitted, sewed, baked and written Christmas gifts. I don’t believe taking gifts out of Christmas celebrations is going to make it any more Christmassy because the consumerism has been removed.
It just took me a while to figure out what dad actually wanted.
What do you do for the difficult to shop for person? What have you done as an outside of the box gift in the past?
Recommended Reading: Decluttering Before Santa Comes!