In Due Time

Coffee PosterI’ve been waking up especially early the past few days and as I sit in my back yard enjoying my first, second and third cups of “wake-up juice” I realize there’s been a little chill in the pre-dawn air. I really do enjoy this time of year – when the mornings and evenings are crisp and cool and the days are still sunny and warm.

It’s also that time of year again: The first wave of catalogues from greeting card vendors are making their way through the postal system, trying to whip people into an early frenzy with their selections of Winter Holiday greeting cards and frenetic reminders that the holidays are just around the corner.

It’s still August, right? Just checking.

Shopping FrenzyCall me old-fashioned (or some other clever word)… Maybe I’m just not ready to think about Christmas or winter yet (despite how much I actually do love winter…) Maybe it’s that somewhere deep inside I secretly loathe the idea of being pushed into thinking about any Winter Holiday before we even break into Fall. After all, we haven’t even hit Halloween (my favorite holiday of the year, btw) and I haven’t even figured out how I’m going to scare the Hell out of trick-or-treaters this year.

Chippewa Street in Buffalo During Winter

It’s likely that this knee-jerk reaction of mine could also be because I look at the pre-fab, homogenized greeting cards as being no different than getting a sausage-and-cheese gift basket from Aunt What’s-her-face – whom I only see once a year. They’re just sooo impersonal.

Don’t get me wrong, sausage and cheese gift baskets are great if that happens to be your thing. It’s cool, I won’t judge you. Whatever floats your boat. But, in general, giving them as gifts? Meh!

I have a rather amusing saying that I dust-off every year which really expresses exactly how I feel about those sorts of gifts: “Nothing says ‘I don’t know a damn thing about you’ more than a gift from Hickory Farms.”

That may sound harsh, but there’s a measure of truth to it. How well do we know the people that we give gifts to? How much thought do we really put into bringing a smile, laughter, or joy to someone around birthday, graduation, or even – Christmas time?

Home Brew BottlesWould my good friend Michelle really rather get, say, a Mr. Beer Kit or something I can pick-up from the deli section at the supermarket any day of the week? Maybe she’d like some of those sweet Grolsch-style beer bottles since she’s gotten into brewing her own beer lately? (Tough choices.) On the other hand, everyone does like Saltines, right?

Even if I’m thinking about what would make an epic gag gift (or a “White Elephant Gift” for this year’s party with extended family), my wheels are always turning. What about one of those fun Cocktail Lamps for Aunt Nancy, or that Bonny Boy Manneken Pis Liquor Dispenser For Uncle Lannie? (Bet you can’t do that with a basket of cheese and crackers!)

In short, don’t fall prey to those guys who get you all worked up over holidays that are over four months away, or those that set up shop in the middle of a mall once a year. Remember, gifts of food are not only impersonal, but they can only be enjoyed for a 24 hour period once eaten.

So, chuck those greeting card and gift basket catalogues into the recycling bin and make some time to really get to know your friends, family, and co-workers. Trust me, you’ve got time!


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