Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tis The Season

My hands are shaking, my stomach is queasy and I've got cold sweat. My heart's palpitating like crazy and I think i'm gonna pass out soon. Breathe in... and ouuuuuut.

Yes, I have not completed my Christmas shopping.

Five more days. Die la, die la. Every year, I tell myself...nay...I VOW to buy Christmas presents throughout the year so come December, I won't have to go through the same old panic routine. Well, it's been 26 years and things haven't changed. Some traditions aren't meant to be broken I suppose.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. I heart it very much. And i love buying gifts for people (even better if I had a limitless bank account to go with my generosity). But as Christmas draws near and panic sets in, I start picking up gifts for people without thinking too much - time is precious after all. I always try to draw up a proper list of who and what but after a while, I tend to chuck the list aside and just go with the flow. Over the years, I've drawn up several categories of gifts. Here they are:

Practical Gifts
I like these because, although they seem boring, it's nice to receive gifts you can actually use/wear/eat/read rather than 'dust collectors' (see below). Practical gifts include cotton nighties (popular among the aunties) with a purple-furred Garfield or a wide-eyed girl with the words 'You and I Be Friend Forever' at the bottom , or bedroom slippers. Even better are toiletries (worst-case scenario: You break out in hives or smell like curry powder). I've received my fair share of practical gifts and although they were not my prettiest gifts, they've been put to better use than my 436 snow-globes.

Dust Collectors
So pretty. You know, those porcelain figurines of angels/teddy bears/KLCC. And although they come in the nicest boxes, the prettiest wrapping paper and matching ribbons, all they get from most recipients is a 30-second 'Aww...so nice' before being doomed to the shelf, to collect dust forevermore. The only saving grace to receiving/giving a dust collector is if the figurine etc. bears significant meaning. For example, maybe you've always wanted to go to KLCC so if someone gives you a three inch model of the building with a card attached that says, "One day you'll get there", the gift automatically gains bonus points and is shifted to the 'Sentimental Gifts' category.

Sentimental Gifts
These are the ones with special meanings, where perhaps you and the receiver are the only ones who 'understand' the meaning behind the gift. These gifts can be either 'Practical' or 'Dust Collectors'. Good examples are books (self-help not included), especially first editions (bonus points if its your favourite book/author); photo frames with a collage of photos, a stuffed animal that reminds you of the person (careful on this one). But the best sentimental gifts are the DIYs: a poem, a song, a collage, scrapbook etc. People who live in The Glass Is Half Empty Land call DIY presents cheap but I think they're far more thoughtful than an ugly Gucci handbag I'd probably never wear. Plus, DIY gifts show effort. Extra points!

Cha-Ching Gifts
Also known as 'that's-the-most-expensive-keychain-i've-seen' gift. This of course depends on your budget. And who you're trying to impress/keep happy. Most likely, you'd buy Cha-ching gifts for your boss or significant other. Gifts include perfume, jewellery (not the RM10 for 3 pairs of earrings kinda jewellery mind you), leather goods, electronic gadgets, cars, private islands...You get the pic. Although it might seem flashy, I think it's a nice way to show someone special just how special they are (loses its appeal if you do it too often though). As Maybelline puts it: Because you're worth it.

Damn straight I am.

Panic Gifts aka Safe Gifts
These I am familiar with, especially as Christmas looms. Photo frames, festive candy, gift packs,candles...You get the pic. I detest getting these gifts for people because I'm afraid they appear thoughtless. However, I also consider them Safe Gifts and are perfect for people whose last names you aren't too sure of ("Jeffrey...You know, that guy who's always with James?").

That said, I think the most important principle in gift giving is the old adage that it's the thought that counts. The fact that someone deems me important enough to get me a gift is a nice feeling by itself. To my friends, my gifts don't quite bear branded insignia or have Bluetooth services but it's just my little way of saying I love you guys and I'm always thinking of you. Yeah yeah yeah sappy as it may seem...Tis the season after all.

ok, time to hit the mall.

"All I want for Christmas is you."
-Mariah Carey, All I Want For Christmas. Now if only i could get Johnny Depp to sing this to me. Or Jeff Corwin. Or Josh Hartnett. I'm not picky.

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