DEAR ABBY: This is the time of year people begin thinking, "What should I get Mom, Dad and Aunt Tillie for Christmas?" Well, I AM a mom and an Aunt Tillie, and I filled Dad's shoes for more years than I care to count. So, for all of you who haven't a clue what "we" would like, keep reading:
Don't try to buy me happiness with a token gift. Most of all, I'd love just a little of your time.
If you want to buy something for me, I'd appreciate a box of all-occasion greeting cards. A roll of stamps to go with them would also be helpful, so that when my old friends have a reason to celebrate, I'll not have to venture to the store or post office. (An assortment of gift wrap and Scotch tape are another novel idea.)
You all know how much I love flowers -- not the cut bouquets from a florist, but real plants from a nursery, delivered at the right time for planting in the spring. Something like that can be enjoyed all year, and I'll remember your thoughtfulness every time I look at them.
My little doggie needs grooming every month. How about a gift certificate? They make terrific gifts. Also, I would never spend household budget money for a manicure, pedicure or massage, but a gift certificate for one would certainly be welcome. Or one for a car wash, or the next trip to the dry cleaner or shoe repair shop.
What about a gift certificate for a dinner for two, so I can treat a good friend to a meal and company because HER family is also busy? Have you forgotten how much I enjoy Reader's Digest, Family Circle and TV Guide? I can't afford subscriptions anymore, but they would be a lot more welcome than bubble bath that I'm now allergic to.
Also, if you want to give me something, how about a prepaid phone card, or a few bucks prepaid on my telephone bill? And if you're feeling generous, how about contacting the company that aerates my lawn, the chimney sweep or, for that matter, the mechanic who readies my car for winter?
You see, we're not as difficult to buy for as you thought. You have simply forgotten who we really are. We're not "those old people down the street." We're the parents who always knew what you wanted or needed -- because we loved you.
Thanks for the space, Dear Abby. I hope my kids are listening. -- ANY PARENT OR GRANDPARENT, ANYTOWN, U.S.A.
DEAR ANY: Thanks for a letter that's sure to start a lot of people thinking creatively about the Christmas holidays. Another idea is to create customized gift baskets filled with small cans of tuna, salmon, chicken and turkey, hearty soups, and "goodies" that someone on a fixed income might forgo. Put on your thinking caps, folks. The season is at hand!