The Trick With Presents

B pointed out several years ago that the trick with presents is to get people things that they actually want, not things you want them to want. It's the kind of idea that seems pretty intuitive but is deceptively difficult to stick to. Example:
  • Things B actually wants: nice, classic clothes.
  • Things I want her to want: cute indie girl clothes.
We've now been married for...let's see...one billion years, so we've got it about sorted finally. For xmas, she got me gin, a record (we are totally setting up a stereo in the new place with a functioning turntable again), and a rad vintage cowboy shirt. I got her a necklace and a badass restaurant-quality mandolin.* Other family gifts were equally successful - lots of weapons and liquor, mostly.** My eight year-old niece even busted out a bunch of crafty hand-sewing and gave everyone cute stuff; I got a brown fleece cap that makes me look kind of like I'm going to go pillaging across the open steppes.

Only a week or so until I start teaching. I have vowed never to be in this particular position again, come hell or high water; once I start teaching, I'm going to push hard to get the lid back on the sanity kettle.***

* A mandolin is a kitchen appliance used to produce uniformly-sized slices, not a renaissance-fair instrument for playing ballads.
** Seriously. Gin and sharp things for kitchens were well-represented under the tree.
*** As in, I will not be doing class prep on top of super-hard IT crap at the same time ever again, for fear of heart attacks, homicide, and insufferable complaining.

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