Organic Gift Giving, No Jewelry, and Sherlock Holmes

My wife views all these wishlists as a corrupting influence on the tradition of giving presents. “If you make a list and you don’t get what’s on it, you won’t feel grateful.” Consequently, my wife and her sister don’t make lists. Instead, they make themes (one year, my sister-in-law’s theme was “Purple”) for each other. It’s like organic gift giving.

My parents are very modern, so I was raised in a wishlist family.

I’ve been challenging my wife a lot on her “just be grateful” views. Thankfully, she is really backing herself into a corner on this one.

You see, this year I decided not to get my wife any jewelery for Christmas — or for her January birthday.

Last year, I went way over my budget to buy my wife a pretty substantial chunk of the earth, which she now wears around her neck about once per month. This year, and here’s the beauty part, I’m going to give in to my wife and her sister’s organic giving idea. No lists. Just gratitude and fuzzy happiness.

And no jewelry.

After all, giving is not about receiving material goods.

At least not for my wife.

I love material objects, perhaps because I have very few. You have to admit that it’s fun to guess what’s waiting under the wrapping paper. If nothing else, it’s a pastime that happily takes me back to my childhood. On the other hand, it’s a little irritating when you give people a gift and they say “I had a feeling you’d get me something like this.”

Sure they had a feeling.

So I’m laying it down.

I think my wonderful wife will get me one of the following:

  • Tickets to Iron & Wine
  • Beer of the month membership
  • Kindle
  • Sweaters
  • Gift certificate for personal training at the gym.

I know a lot of people take the rattle & shake approach, but I’ve made my predictions following the advice of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes can look at dirt on a person’s shoe and tell where they’ve been. Although I’m not that sharp, I think that people tend to give presents based on shared experiences, especially if that person has a disdain for lists. So I’ve asked myself how my wife and I spend our time together.

Basically, we go out for nachos and chicken wings on a fairly regular basis, which is why we need to go to the gym. When we’re not doing that, we spend a lot of time reading while listening to music.

As for sweaters, well, perhaps I’ve eaten too many nachos.

Try following this method, and let me know what you’re getting for Christmas.

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5 Responses to “Organic Gift Giving, No Jewelry, and Sherlock Holmes”

  1. My family does lists, but I always had what I wanted, making lists really tough. I agree with your in that the idea is giving, which often gets lost in the pageantry of Christmas. So, I used to always try to incorporate a bigger idea of giving with the gifts I gave. For instance, One year I bought all my cards and wrapping paper from UNICEF, and made sure that the recipients knew that. I gave them small gifts (usually great family photos in simple frames) in over priced paper, but there were families in 3rd world countries who were receiving a much greater benefit.

    These days, I have my kids create custom wrapping paper with grocery bags and their art work.

    I would suspect you could impress her very much if you bought her a simple, sentimental gift, (like, perhaps a kindle with Bob Dylan book preloaded) wrapped with UNICEF paper, or something of that nature. OR, make a donation to an awesome charity she would support in her honor. If she’s sentimental and over the material stuff, she’ll be really proud of you. Plus, it’s really nice to brag to your friends about worldly thoughtful husbands.

    I love how much thought you put into your relationship. Very cool.

  2. and my computer was working much slower than my typing, so pardon all those typos. Geez! (Sorry, not usually so sloppy…)

    • Hi Mel,
      Thanks for the advice! Actually, I think I have a pretty good theme for her gift, but I’ll keep it to myself. I will share whether or not she likes it, though.
      Ryan

  3. We’ve always been list people, but I like the theme idea. It gives you a lot of wiggle room! Merry Christmas!

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