I am sure that I have mentioned from time to time that I generally begin Christmas shopping when spending gift cards that I received, or that I start picking things up very early in the year when I find something that so and so would like. It gets to Christmas time, and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten everyone, as I bought it so early in the year that I don’t remember, either.
But this year has been…. Different. We have gone through the birthday season, and I did not overwhelm my children or my beautiful wife with the gifts. The shelf in the closet has been bare. Normally, I have to wrap early gifts in ambiguous paper as I’m not sure whether a particular gift will be for a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, or Christmas. But I’ve had to scramble at the last minute with a bit of “It’ll do” acceptance of a bit of guesswork.
So, what happened to me?
Was it that in the last two years, I have had to unwrap gifts for people who died after I bought their Christmas gifts? Including something I bought for my aunt who died two years ago and later gave to my sister-in-law, who died last year?
Was it general ennui based on the Recurrent Unpleasantness? Disappointment in recognizing that the extended family I have longed for was not reciprocating my attempts to connect?
Perhaps, gentle reader, it was all of the above, but I recognized something else acutely recently: I am not currently exposed to a lot of gift ideas all the time.
As I was finishing up my Wall Street Journals, I got to the weekend features section and read a book review on Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck, and I ordered a copy for my mother-in-law for Christmas.
You know, I used to see reviews for books, movies, and music all the time in National Review and First Things, not to mention Instapundit as well as in the stacks of Wall Street Journals that I accrued and eventually browsed. My subscriptions to the periodicals have lapsed, and Instapundit mostly runs promos for advertisers on Helen’s Page now, so I am just not continuously seeing snippets of interesting books and whatnot. Which, to be honest, made up the majority of the gifts I laid up, or gift schticks items I laid up when I came across them.
My boys and my beautiful wife, whocomprise most of my gift giving these days, do not really have gift schticks. They get pajamas every Christmas and novelty socks from time to time, but the boys are growing to young men now, so showering them with piles of Legos doesn’t work easily. And I can’t give everyone novelty socks every gift opportunity.
I dunno; maybe I need to re-subscribe to First Things; my subscription lapsed because I ignored all of the renewal notifications because most magazines send them bi-monthly. Or maybe I need to find some more general interest Web sites with book reports to get ideas. Because, honestly, I get Friar’s thriller book reports and a lot of information on military science fiction from various Instapundit-and Hoyt-related sources, but not the sorts of things I get for my wife and children.
Ah, well, we have some months until Christmas. Perhaps something will come to me.