As we approach Christmas many people are filled with dread. Some perceive the gift giving as an enormous challenge and truly struggle with it. Sometimes the kids want gifts that are unaffordable, but more often the giver just has no idea what to bestow. Much of that befuddlement comes from not knowing the recipient well enough or not paying attention when the intended recipient is talking or interacting. Then there are those who have everything or if they decide they want something more, they go buy it.
Being an author and an avid reader of course I believe books are always the best gift. I have one grandgirl who constantly reads, the other grands who are old enough to read, range from occasional readers to “only if I have to” attitudes. Somehow I always think if I can find them a book that truly interests the reader, each one will want to step through the door of reading and see that it opens up the world. Fortunately it has worked.
Giving food items used to be fun. Now it seems a checklist would be needed. Does the recipient have any allergies? Those can be life threatening. Does she only eat gluten-free? Is he eating carb or keto these days? Do you need to research keto to understand what he does eat? Then there are the nonGMO fanatics who will only consume purchased foods with nonGMO prominently displayed on the label. The basic problem with that is there are only nine crops that are GMO and outside of those, labeling things nonGMO is not only silly, it is misleading. Just a quick look and I find you can order nonGMO water and salt. Talk about exploitation of under-informed consumers! But I digress. Chocolate used to be a safe gift and now there are many variations. We are told that dark chocolate is healthy, but I contend that it just tastes so bad and so little is consumed that is the reason it is healthier than milk chocolate. If something is ‘good’ for you, but has an awful flavor, of course it is more healthy — simply because you don’t eat it.
After the purchasing of a gift what is the most despised step? Wrapping the gift, of course. If I were in retail I would offer free gift-wrapping and boldly advertise it. I’d put a banner in my store window to announce it and remind people. All things being equal a store that offers that small service would win over other merchants and it would be an incentive to buy locally instead of over the Internet. Really, what would a few rolls of wrapping paper cost a store? The goodwill and added sales would no doubt cover it. Many years ago I sold products for women and I called husbands and said I would wrap and deliver any gifts at no extra charge. That did two things: it got the men off the hook for the shopping due to a good selection and secondly the gift was complete upon delivery. ❖
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So two weeks ago the president told us that the greatest threat to the United States is systemic racism. Last week he told the Europeans that the greatest threat to the U.S. is climate change.