December 23, 2008

Desperate for one more last-minute gift?

Most of us have that one present we've yet to buy. It's for Great Aunt Edna or First Cousin Once Removed What's-His-Name. And as much as we'd love to buy it, there's one big problem: We have no idea what to get.

So if you're off to the mall tomorrow to aimlessly wander the stores before grabbing some random "Make Your Own Fruitcake" kit in a last-second the-stores-are-closing panic, let me save you some trouble. Just buy one of those fancy meat-and-cheese gift sets.

I know, I know. Nothing screams "I don't know you well enough to get a gift that's tailored to your interests" like a meat-and-cheese basket. Actually, nothing says "I don't even feel like putting any effort into trying to figure out what you want" like a meat-and-cheese basket.

But take a step back. Almost any gift you get is going to scream "I don't know you." Even if you get lucky and buy your cousin's fanboy boyfriend a Marvel Comics Dictionary, chances are he already has it and publicly consults it every day. And it's more likely that you'll end up getting your step-uncle a Ford belt buckle when he's owned a Chevy truck for 25 years.

Just bite the bullet, own up, and admit you don't know your family. Then you can go ahead and give the gift everyone enjoys -- food.

I would even venture to say that the meat-and-cheese gift basket is unfairly ranked next to fruitcake as a terrible holiday gift. That should not be the case. The basket has a slew of delicious things in it: cured meat, tasty cheese, fancy crackers and, often, nuts. Even if your gift recipient doesn't like something in the basket, the portions aren't that big. Chances are they can find someone to eat it.

If you suspect that I'm covertly lobbying for a meat-and-cheese basket, you're right. I even usually get great gifts -- but I still want one. You just can't beat seasonal food as a present.

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