Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advice


I'll be brief, I promise. No lecture. No diatribe. Just the facts.
I saw it in the paper this morning. One of those advice columns, but not the famous ones. This guy writes in with a real concern about his wife. Sees as if she went out and bought an expensive bottle of perfume. Then she gives him specific instructions to wrap it up and give it to her for a Christmas present. That simple. His complaint was that he longed to get back to the way his family did holiday gift giving. He used the words joy and surprise.
I'm not sure which got to me more, the initial scenario he presented or the "advice" he was given. The columnist missed the boat on this one. She told him to accept that his wife has clear expectations about how gifts should be given and wanted to adhere to her family's holiday traditions. She further urged this guy to find what he loved about his wife the most and focus on that. Imagine that, no mention of this distorted notion of holiday spirit.
It's not that I'm surprised, just slightly disappointed. Has this culture's bastardization of any true notion of this season become so disconnected that even a supposed "expert" can't see what's going on here.
What is the definition of a gift anyway? Is it "something I'd like you to have." Is it "something I thought you would like?" How about "something I gotta do?"
I gave a few people on my list this year what I think is a win/win/win. A local artist, in conjunction with raising money for Gulf Coast Recovery, (BP oil spill) is offering beautiful, decorative tiles with the image of a brown pelican for a contribution to the fund. My family/friends get the art work, the fund gets the money, and I get the privilege of keeping to my tradition of gift giving.

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