Lately, I've heard that I am hard to buy for. I can't imagine this is the case as every time I step out the door, I somehow manage to spend a hundred dollars. But this started me thinking, of course. I too, know people that are very hard to buy for (not that I'm accepting ownership) and I started trying to decipher a red flag that may be a suitable harbinger of the difficult recipient (not me, of course). Being a poor recipient may be in the top ten of selfish acts; it denies the gift-giver the opportunity to bask in the glow of her altruism. Now, thwarting someones attempts at altruistic behavior is truly self-centered. You certainly wouldn't want to be THAT unpleasant person, would you? Me neither.
An excellent indicator that you may be difficult to buy for, and thus a poor gift recipient, is receiving food as a gift. If you find yourself inundated with logs of meat from Hickory Farms every season, you may need to spend some time cultivating yourself. Yes, cheese dipped in some funky mustard may be delicious, but what is the gift-giver SAYING about you? She's saying, "You have no interests, no real talents and I am confident that nothing I buy you will change that...so eat up, Simpleton." Even receiving liquor is not so demoralizing as receiving the edible. At least with a bottle of scotch, or even a forty from some low-rent neighborhood, you can be assured you are viewed as a person with a pastime, a hobby if you will.
Although, I think, in most respects, I am a good recipient, (I do have impeccable manners), it does seem to be getting more and more difficult for my family to find the perfect gift for me. I came to a realization the other day, when my mom and I were browsing through a cute, little boutique and I overheard a woman say, "We have to get this for Mary, you know how she just LOVES snowmen! She must have a hundred in her cabinet." A few minutes later, "Oh, look at this one! It has a detachable carrot for it's nose and a piece of coal to shove up it's butt! She'll love it!" Hmmmmm... I was instantly struck by this unknown Mary's perceptiveness. She may have hit the jackpot on avoiding the edible; create passion for some type of inanimate object.
Later in the day, in a whimsical shop nearly identical to the one hundred we visited prior to it, we came across a penguin. It was charming in it's own way, with it's little, china scarf waving jauntily in the faux breeze. Mom said to me, "Hey, look at this." I looked at it and sifted through memories to see what was important about the little guy. Finally, I remembered and asked her if Sis was still into penguins. She looked horrified and said, "I certainly hope not." Well, as I pondered this statement, we saw a chicken on the shelf. "Now, that looks just like your sister!", Mom pronounced. I was appalled, as in no way did it resemble my dear sister, until I realized what my mother was saying; Sara collects chickens. Porcelain, painted and undeniably collectible. My sister, in her infinite wisdom of being two years my elder, has it figured out. No wonder she always gets so much loot for Christmas. I was learning. She is a good recipient. Penguins are too difficult of an item to collect, if you want to be a good recipient. My collectible items need to be readily available, not like penguin figurines which are few and far between. As we strolled on, I was struck by the many items I could collect to better position myself for gift receiving; Precious Moments, snow globes, seasonal socks, salt shakers, marbles... I do collect cookbooks, but not all cookbooks, which makes it a difficult item for others to buy. It can be hard for the uninitiated to differentiate between the kitch-y, truly rare and collectible, and the crap (no wonder my Christmas pile is often lacking!). We passed an adult-only store and I deliberated choosing an item from there as my new favorite, self-definitive item. I imagined my mom passing a policeman and saying, "Oh, look at his handcuffs. They look just like Amy! I wonder where he got them? Let's ask!" After a few moments in deep thought, I decided adult-toys may not be the most practical of collections. I mean, where would I display them? I think I need to settle on something easy to find, cute to display, and definitive of my lifestyle.
I can see it now; a collection of summer sausage from around the world. And little, tiny, colorful bottles of liquor to wash it all down. Now, that's me. Cheers.