Everywhere I look I see Christmas lights and decorations and happy people on Facebook showing pictures of their Christmas tree they  just put up.
Ugh! Not Christmas again already?!
Okay, I admit it...I don’t enjoy Christmas nearly as much as I do other holidays, say Halloween, for example. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’m going to CLAIM as my excuse that shopping for just the right present (and finding the money to do so) stresses me out.  
Sure, if I started shopping sooner than the week before Christmas that might help, but, hey, why do today what you can put off ‘til tomorrow?  I don’t enjoy crowds, and I don’t enjoy visiting the many stores it takes to find just the right thing. (My husband would remind me at this point that maybe, just maybe, I’m too picky.)
My husband would also suggest that gift cards are an easy solution to my dilemma, but I just can’t do it.  If you’re going to give someone a gift, you should take the time to think about what that person would really like.  At least in my family,  you tend to only give gifts twice a year:  birthdays and Christmas, so you want that person to know that they’re important enough to you that you notice things about them.
It’s amazing how different Christmas gifting routines and “rules” can be in different families.  Do you do lots of little presents or just one or two big ones?  Do you make sure to spend the exact same amount on each kid, or just make sure they have the same number of presents?  Maybe you wrap all of the presents you buy but one, which goes under the tree unwrapped when Santa stops by for milk and cookies?
One of my favorite Christmas memories was the year my family agreed that all presents must be handmade by the giver.  Some people would be horrifed by this thought, but luckily the members of my family are all fairly artsy in one way or another, whether it be carpentry, sewing, drawing, writing, etc.  I loved Christmas that year!  (I will say, though,  if you’re going to do that, the ealier you start the better.)
It being December 1st, and all the signs around me indicating Christmas is not going away, I’ve officially begun thinking about what to buy my loved ones this year.  I like things you can do, rather than just things, but that’s not always easy to find in our area.  Where do I find someone to teach our 17 year old son how to box within 30 miles of home?  Wouldn’t our daughter love to record her own professional quality CD or video?  Where are the nearest blacksmithing classes?
I know gifts are far from the most important reason for the season, but they do provide an opportunity to show the ones you love that even though it may seem like you don’t pay attention, you SEE them.
All you husbands out there put the vacuums back on the shelf; wives put the 5 pack of new underwear back (I know he really needs them.); this year, surprise them.