About the Colony

Shopping for something meaningful this Christmas

With only a week left, it is time to get serious about Christmas shopping.

It isn’t as difficult as it once was. At this age my wife and I have everything we need so we don’t buy for each other. My adult children and I don’t exchange gifts as a way of saving everyone money during these difficult economic times.

But we do buy for the grandchildren and the children of close family members.

As far as I’m concerned, children are the most difficult to shop for.

First of all, I never know what interests children these days. Making things more difficult is the fact that I won’t buy any of the grandkids things I don’t want them to own, such as video games, cell phones and other electronic devices. They get those from their parents anyway.

The biggest detriment to effective gift buying is that the things I love, my wife reminds me, the grandkids may not like. I know I try to impose my likes onto the grandkids. “Just because you loved it as a kid doesn’t mean modern kids would,” she says.  

For example, about 20 years ago, I spotted a really cool two-pistol cowboy set. I didn’t get it because she said kids don’t play "Cowboys and Indians" anymore. But she did buy it for me as a Christmas present.

Boy, was I happy. It still hangs by my side of the bed.

But in shopping for anyone -- grandchildren and adults -- I always go with whether I’d like to receive it. So I attempt to purchase gifts that require some level of assembly that occupies the child who is older and father/mother and child for those who are younger. Things to build and paint are favorites in my gift-giving repertoire.

For years I tried to make toys for my children or grandchildren. They have all outgrown that, almost. Last year I made a rocking doll bed for my youngest grandchild but it was stolen from my car on Christmas Eve along with my camera and other belongings.

I love to give books, because the pleasure they provide lasts a long time, especially for the adult readers on my list. It is more difficult to buy books for the youngsters because they have so many as the result of hand-me-downs from other families and friends.

In spite of it all, it remains a merry season.

Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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