I finished most of my holiday shopping last night. My sister and I are combining efforts for a number of gifts, since Christmas is a big affair for my mom's side of the family. Actually, it's not Christmas, per se, that's the big affair (since a substantial number of them are Muslim or agnostic or belong to opposing sects of Christianity or whatever), it's the winter get-together. And I don't mind getting gifts for family, because it's fun to get stuff for the little kids. Especially loud, noisy toys. It'll be less fun down the road when it's my kids receiving loud, noisy gifts, but right now it's great.
What's not so great is gifts for my friends. Why the hell do they insist on buying me crap for Christmas? I have to get them something in return -- if I don't, I'll feel weird. For some of these people, gift ideas are easy, and I feel good getting them something -- my friend Tom, for example. Tom is getting a DVD of BMW's The Hire. Tom wants this. He doesn't know it's out on DVD. He doesn't have the means to purchase it online. He'll be thrilled to receive it, and giving it to him for Christmas means not having to hide my copy whenever he comes over until his birthday.
Then there are my friends Keith and Lindsay.
First of all, it's Lindsay's fault that I get any Christmas gifts for my friends at all. She introduced the whole concept. For twenty years of my life I managed not to get or receive anything from friends during the holidays, and then I go out with Linsday and... well, actually, we break up. But the next Christmas, I'm expected to get everybody a gift, and it's her fault.
Last year Keith and Linsday got my a Homestar Runner shirt. I got them a blender, on the suggestion of Tom who wanted to make mixed drinks for the New Year's party. I didn't go to the New Year's party, because it was in MILTON.
Finally, there's Secret Santa at work. Why the hell do I sign up for this every year? I buy a bunch of crap, and I get a bunch of crap. This year, at least, there's a really low spending cap, and I've managed to get cool stuff -- a mini Nerf gun, Silly Putty... These things go perfectly at my desk. Next year though, I think we oughta have a Secret Grinch: Everybody draws a name out of a hat, and then every day for a week you get to take something little from that person's desk: a pen, their date stamp, a coffee mug, their collection of pulled staples (oh wait, I'm the only person who keeps those). At the end of the week, you get to take something bigger: their radio, their phone, their PC... I think it's a good idea, and it might put an end to all the stupid office gift giving.