One of the best things about being single is there are a lot fewer holidays to worry about having to buy gifts for. And that is great for me because I have to be one of the worst gift givers in history.
For example, today would have been my 14th wedding anniversary. The traditional anniversary gift for 14 years is ivory. That would have been easy, I would have just gone to Africa, killed an elephant and given a tusk on a necklace. That or I would have bought some Ivory soap because deep down I am a romantic.
Thankfully I don't have to worry about any of that anymore so elephants all across Africa can breathe a sigh of relief and I can put my slingshot away. But is it just me or is there a holiday every week? Birthdays, graduations, weddings, Talk Like a Pirate Day. What do you buy for a pirate anyway?
My first issue is I have no gift giving etiquette. I figure if I can't think of something to buy in five minutes you should get money.
"Happy 50th anniversary! Here's 20 dollars. Don't spend it all in one place."
But it was drilled into my brain that money isn't a proper gift. You must purchase something the receiver probably doesn't want instead of letting them buy what they want. It makes perfect sense.
So over the years I have taken that advice and failed miserably with it. I have bought my father movies that he still hasn't taken out of the plastic. Who doesn't like "Rudy" anyway?
I have bought children toys they immediately take outside and bury so they don't have to play with them. And my ex-wife left boxes of gifts I had bought her over the years. That's fine. I'll be more than happy to use that electric screwdriver.
But getting gifts for people isn't easy. My friend's daughter turns 1 in a few weeks. What do you get a 1-year-old? She likes to tear up paper, maybe I can get her a pack of paper. Or just steal some newspapers and let her rip until her dad is exhausted from cleaning up.
I watch television for help sometimes, hoping that a commercial will catch my eye and give me the perfect gift idea. But all I ever see are husbands buying their wives diamonds and cars. I'm glad I never made it to that anniversary. What ever happened to candies and sexy lingerie?
I've tried the gift certificate things too. I thought everybody liked Taco Bell and McDonalds. Don't we all eat there at some time?
It's gotten to the point my family takes the decision out of my hands by either buying the gifts for me and putting my name on them or having me "go in" with them.
"We're going to buy your dad a coffee machine. Want to go in with us?"
"Well I was going to get him the 'Steel Magnolias' movie but if you think he'd like a coffee machine better, I'm in."
This has been the greatest thing ever, because now I don't even have to worry about wrapping. Another thing I'm pretty terrible at. I thought everyone used newspaper and electric tape to wrap gifts.
When that was frowned upon I would just take out the receipt and give the gift in the bag I took it home in. Sure, a JC Penney bag may not be colorful but if you tie it up tight it does take a little effort to open it.
What is the purpose of wrapping paper anyway? Just give me my gift. I don't want to work for it. Well unless you want to wrap my gift with bacon. Everything is better with bacon.
But I think there should be new rules for gift giving.
Rule No. 1 -- No wrapping paper unless it involves bacon.
Rule No. 2 -- All people wishing to receive gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, anniversaries and Talk Like a Pirate Day should register at stores like they do for a wedding. Let's take the guess work out of it and help support our local businesses in the process.
Rule No. 3 -- Only one gift-giving holiday per month. All December birthdays are to be celebrated in July so we don't have to come up with two gift ideas in the same month. And all weddings in December should be banned by law.
I would continue with rules 4 to 1,000 but I've got to run out and get a friend's birthday present and some electric tape. I hope he likes "Steel Magnolias."