My children tell me that there is a direct correlation between age and the difficulty of buying gifts. The older I get, the harder it is to pick out a gift for me. They are well aware that their father, aka Poppy, has told them on many occasions that he is a man who has everything and needs nothing but God’s grace and the love and respect of his family.
Nevertheless, they want to give their dad a gift, and they are tired of buying him books or Amazon gift cards that will be used to buy more books to fill a library numbering in the thousands. Hey, what can I say, I love a good book.
For the fans of TheBuddyBlog.com, I thought I’d share the feedback I gave my children.
First, I told them the story of how one Christmas when I was eight, my grandmother on my mother’s side gave me a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum as my Christmas gift. I do not remember any other gift I received in 1959, but I remember that one. Initially disappointed, what eight-year-old wouldn’t be, I soon realized it wasn’t about the gift, but the thought behind it. At that time, my grandmother lived solely on public assistance. A pack of gum was all she could afford. It was a lesson I never forgot.
So when I was once again asked by my adult children, “Dad, what would you like for Christmas,” I was tempted, for nostalgia sake, to ask for a simple pack of Juicy Fruit gum.
I resisted the temptation.
Instead, I suggested a new 2019 GMC Sierra pickup truck. It lasts a lot longer than a pack of Juicy Fruit. But the response I got amounted to a few guffaws and a comment, “Don’t push your luck, Dad.” Truth be known, my old GMC Sierra pickup is still running and meets my needs on those occasions I still need a truck…to HAUL FURNITURE FOR MY CHILDREN!
Another idea I proposed for consideration was a new set of TaylorMade golf clubs. P790 Irons, Steelfiber Graphite shafts, stiff flex — one inch over standard — with oversized Winn Dri-Tac grips, that is, in case anyone was interested. Alas, honesty compels me to admit that my current set of clubs works just fine. I rationalize the need for a new set of irons only because it might reduce the temptation to toss a new more expensive club in the same direction where my just-struck ball made a splash. Ok, forget the clubs, I have to remind myself of the old golfing proverb, “It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.”
Maybe golf lessons? But at my age, golf lessons would be like training me to perform a backflip on a balance beam. The sight won’t be pretty and, I just might hurt myself.
Bottle of wine? Nope, I don’t drink alcohol.
A new tie? I am retired, what’s a tie?
So what can my children and grandchildren get their impossible-to-buy-for Poppy for Christmas? Here are Poppy’s more realistic – and mostly free – suggestions for gifts that will be treasured and cherished for a lifetime.
- Gift of Time: Take dad out to lunch or dinner, just one-on-one time with an adult child or grandchild. Believe it or not, I find each of you more fascinating than any other human being on the planet.
- Gift of Memory: Write a letter sharing a favorite memory (or two or three) of your dad (or mom).
- Gift of Shared Experiences: Let your dad know when the grandkids are having those special school events, or invite him to join the family for that trip to see Christmas Lights.
- Gift of Prayer: Let your dad know what needs he can pray for you in the coming year: think spiritual, family needs, personal health, financial. Hey, I am praying for you anyway, might as well help me be specific!
- Gift of Food: Homemade goodies that you are famous for: like your favorite Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, a bottle of your own BBQ sauce, or Cheesecake….or a copy of your favorite recipes.
- Gift of Service: Dog-sitting? I babysit your kids, the least you can do is pet-sit our dog! At least YOU don’t have to change a diaper!
- Gift of Touch: Commit (as a Christmas gift) to reach out and touch by phone at least weekly or semi-monthly to say hi and talk about what is happening in your life.
- Gift of Hands: The older a person gets, the more they appreciate the gift of someone detailing their car or plowing their garden.
- Gift of Love: When all else fails, how about an extended hug and an “I love you Dad.”
Yep, that’s the preferred gift of choice!. Forget the truck, the golf clubs, and books. All this Poppy ever needs anymore is a big hug and loving words.
Come to think of it, isn’t that what is proclaimed at Christmas? Our heavenly Father sends Tidings of Great Joy! Isn’t the coming of Jesus the best Gift ever? What a hug that is!
And nobody hugs better than Jesus.
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