I rarely need an excuse to give gifts. It just comes naturally.

Among friends, I’m a legend. I have a deft touch at selecting le cadeau juste.

gift.jpgThe best baby gift I ever gave was a book. The parents-to-be, Mike and Maddie, did the standard registry at the baby stores. But I typically ignore registry items if I know the recipients well.

I found the book in the pile at the office, a pile set aside to raise money for charity. I knew it would make the perfect shower gift, someday.

That someday turned out to be years later. I managed to find the book in my mess of a house, inscribed it and gift-bagged it.

It was one of the last gifts opened at the shower. The book’s title, “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality,” said it all.

I inscribed it with sage parenting advice: “Only you can avert this potential tragedy. Don’t let us down.”

Oh, if it was only called “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality for Dummies.”

For Christmas 1999, I sent Sam a Y2K survival pack, with an oil lamp, a tin of tea, some cookies, a bottle of wine, a journal and a good book (but not the Good Book). If the computers crashed and the world teetered on the brink, she’d still have the essentials to ride it out.

I gave Biff a toaster oven for Christmas, because his ex-wife managed to snag the old one in the divorce. How, I don’t know, but the original toaster oven was a gift from our family to him.

(I’d always joke that the next wedding gift would need his fiancĂ©e’s approval, seeing as she’d end up with it someday.)

His ex-wife remarried, along with another couple, in a double ceremony. Both couples received gift cards, but I somehow convinced Biff that I had bought one gift card, cut in half and wrapped them separately to give to the happy twosomes.

“Don’t worry, all they have to do is tape it back together and decide how they want to spend the five dollars remaining on the card.”

He even believed that I had already spent most of the card on myself.

I’m wicked, but not that wicked.

I’m stingy with myself, but rather loose with the walletstrings when it comes to friendly largesse. It means more to me to spend it on someone else than waste it myself.

It’s so worth it.


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