Christmas gifts

Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on December 6th, 2005.

I’ve been having a hard time thinking of unique and thoughtful Christmas gifts this year, because frankly my family is hard to shop for.  Or at least they’re hard for me to shop for since I have certain go-to gift ideas that they are either tired of or just don’t suit them.

For example I like to give books as gifts because I like to read and reading makes your brain all big and stuff, and who doesn’t need their brain to work gooder?  I do, I do.  The trouble is my brother doesn’t want his brain to work gooder, and he hates reading books, so anytime I give him a book I know that it’s simply going to sit on his shelf for a few months until he finally gives it to the Salvation Army or donates it to the book bin at Kelowna General Hospital.  I have thought of simply giving him a note saying that I donated three books in his name to KGH, but I don’t think that’s quite what he wants to unwrap on Christmas morning.  So Neal, that’s my brother’s name, is one gift I have to decide on or think of.

For the past few years I’ve been giving my father a combination of magazine subscriptions to Car and Drive and Golf Digest and a few books on business.  But at this point it’s getting to be so predictable that I think I want to do something to shake things up and surprise him.  I thought briefly about buying him pornographic magazines but I think the complete uncomfortable silence that the opening of that present would produce would far outweigh any comedic joy I’d get from the gift.  My father then is the second gift I need to decide upon.

Now my mother is one I’ve got covered for the first time in years.  She’s typically the easiest, since she generally drops obvious hints for weeks leading up to the holidays.  This however\ generally means that she knows what she’s getting for weeks ahead of the actually event day and thus the surprise is rather negligible.  This year however I’ve totally ignored the hints.  Ignoring hints is generally a bad idea, a way to end up giving someone a panda bear made of crystal glass that gets returned within a week of unwrapping.  This time however I have a foolproof gift for my mother, something that can’t possibly be returned to a store.  That’s right dear readers it’s a homemade gift the most enthusiastically received and least used of all the X-Mas presents.

This is the one time of the year I’m actually relieved that I’m perpetually single.  I don’t think someone as narcissistic as me would be able to deal with having to think of what to buy a fourth person for Christmas.  As it is I’m having fits trying to get something for Neal and my dad.  If only my organs were in better shape, I could volunteer to give one of those to my father in case he needed a spare.  I could make up a little coupon that says “Good for one kidney.”

This is what’s so good about having a little space like this in a much loved and much read arts and entertainment paper.  I’ve got to get two gifts, one for a hip young twenty-something and another for a man who currently does not need a kidney.  Do you have any suggestions?  If so please use electronic internet mail, otherwise known as email, to me at  I promise to not let on that you helped me out on this one.

Have a happy holidays and hopefully your shopping goes better.