Seems like every year there is some new twist or added deal that makes life interesting. I try to plan ahead, get organized, and stay ahead of the rush, but every year I seem to come screeching into the holidays, trying to figure out what gifts to give. For some people, it seems to be a gift. They are able to pick the perfect gift, the one that fits the recipient, the one that is most thoughtful (and it was on sale). Normally, those are the people who have their Christmas shopping done before the Thanksgiving turkey has thawed. As you might surmise, I ain't one of that group. I try to find a gift that is appropriate/fun, not cheesy or something that winds up in a garage sale a year later. For my old brother, it has always been a challenge. Hunting, trailer travel, antique cars - he has interesting tastes/hobbies and, no matter what direction I take gift wise, I always seem to fall short (IMO) of the mark. He has four boys we used to buy gifts for each, but not that they are out of the house and married, we are moving towards family gifts. My other brother (nature boy living in yurt near Seattle), he is in a whole different category. He married two years back to a wonderful woman (with two daughters) so he basically inherited a family. His lifestyle is, how to put it, eclectic. Prefers outdoors activities, high tech savvy, not in that trendy way. Kind of a backpacking, kayak, Patagonia wearing outdoorsman, even if he is just shy of 6 decades. Two years back we visited with them in Seattle in their house/land (the only ones from my family who have seen their place) - very nice, if not sparse, but it fits their lifestyle. I tried to bring them some wine/beer for dinner but did not realize that they are on a gluten-free diet, so most of my food gift ideas would not work. My parents, bless their hearts, are a real challenge. What do you get for a pair of 87+ year young couple who still gallivants across the countryside in their trailer? Anything I get for the home is pretty much a waste as they are not home a lot. Neither is very much into techy stuff, but we are trying to bring them into the 21st century. So whatever I get has to be mobile to be used in their trailer.
Truth be told, I hate gift lists. I know it makes it simpler, but I feel they take away some of the spontaneity of the gift. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like when people give out a list of what they want, it is more of a "gimme" list. That said, I did fall back to one yesterday. My nephew married a few years back to a smart, organized, classy lawyer (he married up) and they're on the path for bigger things. For the past few years, she has posted a wish list for him and I always felt it was a wee bit presumptive. I have always had a hard time getting a gift for them because of their tastes/lifestyle, but I may resort to her list to save time/grief. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I prefer something more from the heart than from amazon.com.
For the immediate family, I have already a line on my bride for this year. Already bought a quilting software package she has been eyeing for a year that let's you design your quilts. I am debating getting her either an iPhone or iPad, but still on the cusp. Have not gotten anything for the son but have some ideas.
I am on the road again this afternoon for a short supplier trip. At least this one is "local". Will head to Austin for a one day audit. Since I get to organize these trips, I kinda planned this one on the fly with some extra time allotted to visit with junior. Will probably take him and his girlfriend out for dinner tonight. Planning to try to hit a few stores in Austin for gifts/ideas. As usual, I always blow the budget every year.