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Life lessons for Christmas

Linda Boyne

‘Tis the season of giving. I enjoy giving gifts, watching as they’re opened and seeing the joy they bring. Or, in the case of my younger son, watching his eyes roll back in his head as he throws the gift down in disgust because it’s another puzzle. Yeah, we’re working on the gratitude thing before Christmas.

Over the years, I’ve discovered some things that help me through the most wonderful time of the year. As my gift to you, I’m sharing my insights into both the giving and the receiving of holiday gifts.

1. Make a list to figure out who you need to buy presents for and some ideas for each person. Recipients on my list include family, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and my hair stylist, manicurist, and esthetician (or, as I refer to them collectively, The Maintenance Crew).

2. There’s nothing wrong with making a list of what you want from your loved ones. I come from a long line of Christmas List makers; it’s a time-honored tradition in the Stamper family. I remember sitting down with the Sears Catalog when I was little and circling all the toys I wanted (small town living didn’t provide a lot of shopping options). In fact, my mom told me last week, “If your husband doesn’t make me a list, tell him he’s getting the World’s Largest Flashlight from Restoration Hardware.” A list helps if people have no idea what to get you. I think I’m easy to shop for, but my family would probably beg to differ. Honestly, just buy me something shiny and sparkly and I’ll bite just like a big fish.

3. Shop early. Shop often. And God bless the Internet.

4. Gift cards: A last ditch effort or the greatest creation ever? I go with the latter. You give me a gift card you’re saying, “Linda, I know you so well that I’m certain sending you shopping at your favorite store, on me, would make you happier than if I gave you a hand-knit teapot cozy.”

5. Be open to the idea of returns and exchanges. Our families live all over the country. How certain are you that your niece in Florida is still obsessed with Dora the Explorer? She’s 12 now, you know. I love the advent of the gift receipt. Genius! Seriously, if I give you a gift that you don’t like, doesn’t fit, you’ll never use, whatever, return it! Get yourself something you’ll love!

6. Practice your acting skills prior to the holidays. I love getting gifts. Really, who doesn’t? But you have to have a go-to response for the more unusual presents. “Oh, my! This is amazing. What a lovely, uh, I mean, well, it’s just going to be so useful. Thank you!”

The main thing to remember is that it’s better to give than to receive. And it’s the thought that counts. And if you don’t write a thank-you note, Santa won’t come next year (or so I tell my children).

Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for The Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com.


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