Searching for the best Christmas gifts


Love makes the world go ’round, but money seems to be the most popular gift on many Christmas wish lists.
That is the case, at least, involving my two sons. Both are in their 20s, and money has been their primary Christmas wish list since their teenage years.
That makes for uninteresting gift shopping, especially if you are someone who, like me, actually enjoys shopping for gifts. Shopping for gifts in person is my favorite. There is something about online shopping that feels a bit impersonal.
I prefer in-person shopping for myself, as well. It’s not that I can’t adapt to online shopping.
Rather, I prefer the tactile experience. I really do not like buying clothes online. Too many times I’ve tried to get something online, only to find I hate the fit or hate the material. One time, I ended up with button fly jeans instead of a zipper. I don’t recall that even being an option.
Of course, shopping in person is a double-edged sword. Traffic to the stores and inside can be miserable, especially on the final weekend or two before Christmas. That would be now, of course, and I still have shopping to do. With all the supply chain issues, I may have backed myself into a corner if I want to hand out Christmas gifts before St. Patrick’s Day.
That’s alright, however. More and more, my shopping preferences are with locally-owned small businesses. Part of the reason is that these are the types of businesses that support the business that I work in. It’s a matter of self-preservation.
I also like that shopping experience better. The crowds are smaller. The help is happier and more informed. The other customers tend to be nicer and better behaved than those at big box stores and malls.
You very rarely see a viral video shot from a mom-and-pop store. Instead, those ugly interactions seem to happen in corporate-owned stores that populate cities and suburbs around the country. Is there a correlation? Maybe.
I feel fortunate in that my kids are not very materialistic. I’m not either, although I was more materialistic when I was in my mid-20s. I’m a child of the 1980s – that’s the world we grew up in.
But when you want that shopping experience, and the experience of wrapping a present, a gift card with a few $20 bills inside is not the same.
We have a Facebook group in our family, allowing us to easily share gift ideas for our secret Santas. That helps me as I shop for my kiddos. But with short lists, I am left to get creative.
To me, that’s where some of the fun of shopping begins. There is a challenge in buying a gift not from a wish list, but from what you know about a person. And it is fun to see the reaction of somebody when they receive an unexpected gift.
I can’t blame them, either. I’ve become really bad about coming up with wish lists for my birthday or Christmas. There is not that much that I need materialistically. These days, I’m much more into experiences. That could mean food and drinks, or an activity, or any way to spend time together. For my birthday, my kids and I went to a Wichita Thunder game, and I bought the tickets. It wasn’t about money or material goods. It was about time together.
This Christmas, I’ll be able to spend time with my sons, as well as my parents, my brothers and their significant others, and my nieces and nephews.
What more could a person ask for?