Friday, December 21, 2007

The gift that keeps on giving…in a good way

By Karrie McAllister

It’s that time of year; I’ve got presents on the brain. And I’m reminded of the importance of choosing the right gift every time my four-year-old son pushes the button on the animated singing snowman he received last year. (Worse yet, I was the one who bought it for him!)
Trust me, hearing a fat, wiggling snowman sing “Play that Funky Music White Boy” multiple times a day is a stark, yet funky, reminder that you should think before you give.
It’s the same old challenge this year, trying to come up with just the right present for just the right person. And in my book, the perfect gift should have the following characteristics:
It should be meaningful. You should be thinking about the person you are giving it to, and find something special just for them. For example, if my son was not into disco dancing, the snowman would not have suited him. But unfortunately, it does.
It should be quality. There is nothing worse than opening a gift and having it break coming out of the packaging, so make sure the gift is sturdy enough to withstand the giftee. Unfortunately, our wiggling snowman has proven it’s strength through THREE sets of batteries.
And speaking of batteries… A perfect gift either does not require them or comes complete with the expensive little buggers. There’s not a parent out there who cringes at the thought of the enormous costs of AA’s, C’s and the dreaded D’s.
The perfect gift should be fun and enjoyable. Personally speaking, as pretty as fancy jewelry is, it’s not on my Christmas list. It’s really not the perfect gift for me (although it usually doesn’t require batteries) because I don’t get much enjoyment out of putting earrings in that I have to be in constant danger of losing and that I won’t be able to see unless I’m looking in the mirror. The disco snowman, in this case, would sadly be a better choice!
And finally, the perfect gift should tell that person how much you love and care about them. Isn’t that really what a gift is all about? In this season of giving (and over-giving, and tipping and over-tipping) we tend to lose sight of the real purpose of giving gifts. It should be a “want to” and not a “have to.” And as much as I didn’t want to, I bought my son that horrendous electronic doo-dad because I wanted to show him how much I really love him.
But this Christmas I think I’ve done a pretty good job giving everyone on my list something really special. It even came early so I’d have a lot of time to get it wrapped up for the holiday season.
In fact, she came three weeks early, in early December, clocking in at a whopping six pounds and thirteen ounces—my biggest baby yet. And not that I’m going to stick a bow on her head, but I’m pretty sure my family is very happy with the gift they are receiving in the newest McAllister member.
Not only that, but she rightfully meets all of my criteria for the perfect Christmas present. She’s special and meaningful. She’s healthy. She requires no batteries. (Diapers, yes, but thankfully no batteries!) She’s going to be a lot of fun once she gets her days and nights straight, and I’m sure she’ll provide us with a ton of enjoyable stories through the years. Last but not least, she’s bringing even more love to our family, and I’m so happy to have her here. She is a gift that will keep on giving, and can satisfy even the pickiest of Christmas lists. Better yet, she doesn’t have a button that makes her sing “Play that Funky Music White boy” and a carrot nose.
Yep, the perfect Christmas present.

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