Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tradition: Christmas Gift Lists

The young Modern Traditionalist with Santa

Anybody who knows me well, knows I am the consummate list maker. I catalog everything from grocery items, weekend activities, suitcase contents, and my life plan for the next ten years. Conversely, I loathe compiling Christmas lists. Each time I’m asked to supply one, I cringe.

The habit of providing gift lists is instilled at an early age when, as children, we are instructed to complete a list for Santa. I certainly don’t recommend abolishing this tradition for young children; however, my opinion on gift giving outside of the realm of St. Nick has been established for many years. Simply put, if you do not know me well enough to select a gift you think I may adore, then don’t waste your money. With the exception of extreme financial hardship, asking a person to list what they need is rather gauche. The goal of gift giving is to surprise and delight. Nothing is lovelier than receiving an unsolicited item true to your character. The greatest gift is the knowledge that someone understands you, listens and cares enough to present you with an ideal representation of yourself. What greater compliment exists?

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