Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's all a matter of definition

Enrico and I are not big on socially mandated gift exchanges. We like to purchase gifts for people when we see something that we believe they would appreciate, and not just when society says we should be out BUYING. Thus, we don't always do gift exchanges at the holidays, or for birthdays and anniversaries. We're much more likely to do something fun - like, say, go to Italy for a month - and declare that to be our combined birthday and anniversary gifts for the whole year.

At Christmas, we go by whether we feel moved to do the gift thing or not. If we get in the spirit and it feels fun and fulfilling, we do. Otherwise, we skip it. Happily, my family is cool with this principle, though Enrico's family takes a more traditional view. Because they feel the need to buy us gifts, I try to come up with a list of things that we genuinely need or want, so they can have the satisaction of buying us something, and we can have the satisfaction of sincerely appreciating it.

This year, I have come up with what I consider to be a FABULOUS list of potential gift items for myself, anyway. It's probably too late in the year to feed these ideas to Enrico's clan, but I've suggested them to Enrico himself in case he feels moved to buy me a couple of things this year. The list includes: a new pair of warm slippers (mine have holes); a metronome; and a nice soft pajama shirt to replace the one that's literally falling apart at the seams.

"Those are not gifts," Enrico scoffed. "They are weekend errands. I am not buying you any of those things. They are too boring." Of course, he raised no objections when I suggested to our mothers that we needed another set of flannel sheets, or new bath towels, or (I kid not) potholders. But apparently, he has a higher set of standards. Fair enough. I will just have to buy my own metronome, on a future weekend errand.

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