Since we are now firmly into the annual depths of the so called season of giving, it's important to remember a couple of points impressed on yours truly during my formative years by now late parents and maternal grandparents.
One, if you are invited to a holiday party or open house -- assuming you choose to throw continued social distancing and caution completely to the wind in late 2020 -- do not show up empty handed. Too many do now. . . typically along with extras in tow whose names were not included on the invitation. Show a token bit of appreciation and respect for Pete's sake. At the very least, bring a bottle or two of wine, or a seasonal flower arrangement as a host or hostess gift if someone has been kind enough to include you on the guest list.
Two, put a little planning and forethought into whatever gift(s) you might purchase for your spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, main squeeze, or whatever the preferred term is in 2020. Nothing is tackier than a last minute, cheap, jokey gift that screams to the world how little thought or effort you put into the gift given to the, presumably, most important person in you life. Can you say Big Mouth Billy the Singing Bass? Google it.
Snuggies, fifty cent mugs from a remainder table somewhere, and the like are at about the same level of taste and planning. Now, I hardly suggest you go into debt or overspend to the point of awkwardness on holiday gifts, but come on. Equally uncomfortable would be something over the top, for example a $5k engagement ring when she has no idea the two of you are really that serious. We all know a guy who has done something similar.
Instead, put some genuine thought into what you might give to people this and every holiday season. Birthdays too. What are they like? What has been their experience thus far in life? What are their hopes and dreams? What are their interests away from work? You get the idea. Sure, it's the thought that counts, to fall back on that particular platitude for a moment. But too often, I notice that that thought seems to be the one thing absent from the equation of holiday gift-giving. And that is something that even a big ticket item cannot hide. Or it shouldn't.
My advice? Keep your wits about you when it comes to purchasing gifts for those special to you this and every holiday season. Demonstrate a wee bit of sophistication and avoid leaving your shopping, online or otherwise, until the last possible minute. You do not want to send the wrong message in an exceedingly clumsy fashion when it comes to gifts. Especially for that special someone. Often, it is the smallest, more subtle items can be the most special and meaningful gifts.
And if money is scarce, a card will always suffice as my maternal grandmother advised a time or two during my childhood.