We’re coming up on Krismas (named after that fictional character Kris Kringle, you understand), and I know some of us will be banging around in our heads trying to figure out what to get certain people on our lists.
I say there are two perfect gifts. Perfect in the sense that they’re always appreciated, no matter who the recipient is.
Perfect Gift #1 is masses of dark chocolate. Go to every store you shop in over the next few weeks and buy as many different types of dark chocolate as you can find. If you really look, you’ll find, oh, 35 different kinds of it. Put it all in a shoebox-sized box and wrap it. If you have a whole family to buy for, say an aunt and uncle and 5 cousins, this one is especially good, because each person can pick and choose.
(BTW, if the package has a cocoa percentage on it, shy away from anything over about 85%. The more potent stuff is just too bitter for most people.)
Perfect Gift #2 is a really good flashlight. Not one of those shitty plastic novelty items with all sorts of bells and whistles, but something that will last for years, always works, and is sturdy enough no amount of dropping will damage it. I’ve given them to kids, high school grads, fat old men, maiden aunties, 80-year-old grannies.
There’s been some chuckling from bystanders — “You gave a FLASHLIGHT to your GRANDMOTHER?? — but the person RECEIVING it has always liked it.
I usually buy the Mag-Lite. I think they’re the kind the cops use, and they come in everything from keychain-sized models to purse-sized, to glove-box sized, to big black fight-off-a-bear sized. And the new ones with the LED bulbs put out unbelievable amounts of light.
As to the idea of giving these to girlfriends, wives, female relatives, in a season where you’re supposed to look for something from the heart …
Say her car breaks down on the road at night, or there’s a noise out by the trash cans when she’s home alone, or she’s walking home from the neighborhood store in the evening, which gift is she going to appreciate more – that pretty, delicate, heart-warming gifty thing on the bookcase at home? Or a never-fail blindingly-bright flashlight? (And which are you going to be glad you bought her?)
In my experience, even moms see the beauty of this extremely practical gift. (And I’d bet you a fiver she doesn’t already have one.)
As to you girlfriends/wives giving a flashlight to your guy, I guarantee when he takes that 19-inch-long black metal club in his hand — that also happens to double as an eye-searing flashlight — he’s going to feel like a hairy-knuckled Neanderthal.
Also, on the non-Krismas gift giving front: When someone does an especially good job for you — say the plumber who comes in at midnight on a holiday, or the real estate agent who goes above and beyond, or the banker who actually weighs in on your side during financial troubles — especially if it’s someone you want to maintain a long-term relationship with, give them one of those hefty-sized Mag-Lites in appreciation. It’s a quirky and unexpected gift, one they’ll remember for years and years.