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Ennis Daily News

Good at giving, just not things

We are firmly on the other side of Veteran’s Day, now, and as happens every year, the barrage has begun.
Just look at the inserts in the Ennis Daily News this week and you will see the woe of every humbug and bad gift-giver. The bane of the self-absorbed has come around again. The holiday of gift-giving, Christmas, has reared its head. The dread begins to creep now.

This is a two-for holiday for my family. My young wife and I celebrate a birthday for her every year in the hurried scurry between Christmas and the New Year holiday. So we (meaning I) have the delightful task of thinking of several different gifts to give.

To add to that joy, we’ve set ourselves up for a bit of a struggle this year, as we have every one since I became the messenger by profession in work with newspapers. There is no end to the continued struggle to put out the news, so I will work on all of the days up to and around all of the major holidays this year, giving myself little time to do the deed of digging for gifts. I will be busy giving to the community by serving while others relax.

Thankfully, unlike my first year in this business, when I was strapped to the night desk at a newspaper in northeastern Louisiana, I will not sit staring at a computer screen on every major holiday. That gift, which I gave to the city of Monroe, La., went largely unnoticed in the community. Go figure.

That year, it was Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, Memorial Day and Easter.

My parents have gotten used to the concept. They understand that with the devotion to work that looms in my life, my visits are my gifts to them. They do not come easily or cheaply, and they are often full of stress spent worrying on what awaits when I’m back to the grind.

My brother and his wife have not — it’s hard to have to be the one who lets them down every year, but they don’t work in a field that requires their presence throughout the holidays, so they take the time off to spend with family. The envy I feel and jealousy of their situation compounds when they ask my presence at functions up to and around the holiday.

I’ll be able to make it for Thanksgiving at their new house and look for gifts while I’m in town. They’re lucky I can even make it one day, but I digress. They can think of its as a gift to them.

I told myself last year I was going to work on my gift-giving skills.

And I made some headway in that department this year by making special strides for some important days — my first anniversary to my beautiful wife being the biggest of those successes. Our date to a temple in Dallas, where we ate vegetarian food and watched the spectacle of devotees dancing and chanting, was a warm throwback to another life for her and somewhat a voyage of discovery for me.

However, I am still plucking at straws around this time of year for good gift ideas. It’s also Secret Santa time at the Ennis Daily News, and while there are some restrictions placed on that little game to make it affordable for all of us, it is still an exercise in the kind of creativity that just doesn’t foster itself, if you know what I mean. My coworkers aren’t going to buy the whole “gift of work” concept.

My wife has already begun the process of building up a cache of giftables for family and friends. She has done this every year for the past five; building up a stash of goodies to give away is a delightful experience for her as much as it is a painful reminder of the lonely focus with which I chose to attack my day-to-day life at newspapers.

I will, of course, owe her all the more for covering my butt for yet another year.

Men, I’m sure there is a part of you that can identify with me. Ladies, I know some of you are just as bad at this as I.
Self-centeredness knows no gender gap.

I will do better this year, though. I already have a gift idea for my wife for Christmas — better than the ill-fitting replacement I bought last year for a Playboy Stetson she gave to a musician who played at our wedding. She’ll be shocked.

Now I just have to figure out what to get everybody else.

An aside: Off the topic, I’d like to extend my condolences to Steve Howerton for the death in his family — you and yours are in my thoughts.

Nick Todaro is the editor of the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at nick@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Nov 18 2009. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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