Sunday, September 17, 2006

practical presents

My birthday is on Thursday (9/21). So I gave my daughter two of my watches that need new batteries. I want her to give me the "gift" of having the batteries replaced.

Now some people say, "that's no present", but to me it is. I rarely have the time to go get the batteries replaced because I am not a mall shopper generally, and let's face it, I don't always have the $$ to replace several batteries at once. Most watches now are sealed and if you want the seal to remain in tact, you have to have a watch repair guy replace the battery. Luckily this guy at the local mall does it, and only charges $12.00 or so for the battery and seal.

So I will be very glad to get that as my gift. After all, isn't it good to give something you actually want and can use? I think so.

You see, when I was young and poor I found it puzzling that adults would send me gifts of things I could never use. If you can barely afford food and clothing what good is a fancy party dress (when you never go to a fancy party?) I much prefered money so I could buy sox or underware, or maybe nylons or a new pair of shoes so I didn't have to walk to school with cardboard in my shoes to cover up the hole that went straight through the soles.

When I lived with my grandmother I saw how many of her grandchildren tried to out do each other buying her things she didn't need and would never use. She had enough talc and dusters to start her own business. What an elderly person living on a fixed income could really use was gift certificates to the grocery store, or to a department store so she could replace a winter coat, or a hat or buy scarves and gloves in winter. (Her birthday was in January). Instead she got delicate little do-dads to mount on the mantle or decorate the end tables.

Why don't people think before they give a gift and give something that the person might actually need and use?

I see nothing wrong with that.

One of my birthday gifts already received is a stove top coffee pot. Why, when I have a perfectly good electric coffee maker? I'll tell you why. My friend actually paid attention when I explained that last year after Hurricane Wilma we were without electricity for weeks because the electric power line in the back yard was down and it took a long time to replace it. Therefore I could NOT make coffee in the morning and had to boil water (on my gas range) for tea. So, just in case the same thing should occur THIS hurricane season she bought me a very practical gift of an old fashioned perk style range top coffeepot. Now, it was a suprise, but it was a thoughtful and very practical gift, for which I am truely greatful.

Practical is, in my opinion, much more thoughtful than flashy. And to me at least, it means more.

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