I love almost every aspect of giving presents. I used to love the wrapping part more, but now it’s merely paper and ribbon, or these days, a generic gift bag.

I love the brainstorming, the budgeting, the shopping, the browsing, the buying, the hiding, the waiting and the giving. It’s kinda freaky.


It’s a continuous process. Organization (or in my case, obsessive detail) is key.

My calendar tracks all the birthdays, holidays, weddings and anniversaries out there. I like homemade cards (another topic for another day), so I work on those, too. But the gift is all.

So if I know someone’s birthday is coming up, I try to get a head start on figuring out some choices. If I’m lucky, I’ve already bought the perfect something months ago (post-Christmas sale, vacation gift shop, lucky yard sale find) and tucked it in a closet.

I’m not usually lucky.

But I am good. Ha!

And this is the creepy part. I record all the past gifts I’ve given each person in a database. I’d be mortified if I gave the same gift twice to the same person. Duplicates are a big no-no.

I also put in ideas for down the road. Usually, it’s one part of the puzzle.

BJ’s birthday is next week, so I began jotting down new ideas for gifts. He’s a tough one, as are most guy friends, because they already buy what they want or need. The rest is superfluous.

It makes for an interesting challenge.

It really can come down to a matter of inches. A stray remark while out, or while on the phone, or watching a commercial can inspire a cool purchase.

When I’m stuck, or when it’s time for the holidays, I’ll hit the stores to see what’s out there. Just strolling the aisles reminds me of what this person cares about or needs. Pen in hand, I make notes: ideas, models, prices, stores.

Then, it’s round after round of bargain hunting online. Buying at the store is for suckers.

As you might have guessed, I’m not a homemade gifts kinda guy. I love homemade gifts — but I usually don’t make them myself. I like the spending and obtaining the one perfect item to give.

Case in point: I’ve got two homemade gifts that have been sitting idle for more than a year now. Sad. They will get done, and they will rock, but my dawdling has cost me the punctuality of the occasion.

Oh, well …

And I’m not big into gift cards or gift certificates (or cash). It lacks the personal touch. (And yes, I’ve given gift cards on quite a few occasions.)

I can stay on budget, though I usually err on the side of too much rather than too little. And sometimes, I like to make grand gestures, big gifts when they’re least expected.

Like most things in my life, I work to do better at gift giving. Paying attention is the most important thing.

Otherwise, you’ll need super fancy wrapping paper. The kind that doesn’t budge.


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