I could use some brown socks
I am not good at giving gift suggestions. Actually I am really bad at it. When the inevitable question comes at Christmas, “So we know what the girls want, but what would you like?”
Uhh….See, it’s not that I don’t want things.
I want things.
Or I’m pretty sure I do.
I just don’t know what they are.
I think maybe my inability to think about gifts I would like comes from my childhood. I grew up in a small town in Iowa, the son of a mother and father who were from even smaller farm towns in Iowa. I am pretty sure we did not have much money when I was a kid, though I really didn’t know that as a kid. Because no one I knew in Indianola Iowa had any money.
I remember being thrilled when we got a Pong game (Beep…Beep…Beep…) and the time when I found $5 at the mall made me think I was a millionaire. I had a paper route when I was in the 5th or 6th grade and would hustle out of school on Wednesday afternoons to get the newspaper office, cram my bicycle baskets full of stinky, smelly hot-off-the-presses newspaper and head off down the long, leafy sidewalks to hurl the latest local news onto the front porch of nearly every home along the street.
All that nostalgia aside, I am pretty sure that my inability to come up with a killer Christmas gift request is a result of my wonder years. For those who are concerned, I am confident that it is not a result of some deep-seated psychological thing where I don’t think I deserve anything or I am not worthy of a gift. No, I am WAY to selfish for that to be the case. I am certain that it is just well andgood for me to have a gift, I just don’t know what I want.
But now as I think about it a bit more, I think that perhaps this inability to come up with a gift is more deeply-rooted in my DNA than I had considered before. Actually, it may very well be my father’s fault.
(Because it can’t be my fault now, can it…?)
My father, who was a farm boy from a small hardscrabble farm set on a couple hundred acres of rolling southeast Iowa hills was my mentor in this area. It is his approach to gifts that sets my course in this area.
Because I will never forget the time when, with a fistful of newspaper-delivering money in my hand ready to go get a shiny, shimmering, spectacular Christmas gift, I asked my Dad what he wanted for Christmas.
And his response was, “Well, I could use some brown socks.”