I confess....I never wrote a letter to Santa. Of course, the fact that my custodial parent was Jewish, may have had something to do with that. But, even as a kid, I generally didn't have the holiday lists that other kids generated. I spent X-mas at my Dad's and my half-siblings always had quite the lists but I always struggled to come up with gift ideas.
I'll admit that I know this was/is a source of frustration. It was compounded by the short gap between my birthday and the holidays...some years it overlapped with Hanukah and it is less than two weeks before Christmas. Since I only spent a couple of weeks a year out there, I know my father found it particularly maddening when I couldn't come up with many gift ideas. I'd try to save a few up, but I was never a great help.
The truth is, and I really don't want this to sound "holier-than-thou" and am quite aware it might, I'm just not all that needy when it comes to material goods. I'll admit that I am emotionally complex, but I am not all that in need of "stuff". When MM and I faced our first gift-giving occasion, he was doubtful I'd be happy with wine, a DVD, and dinner. I think he's since learned. I do love the teddy bear he got me and I'd save that well before the "bigger" present of a necklace.
I do, however, like thoughtful gifts. In some cases, this may actually make me MORE demanding than the girl with the endless list of wants, especially from closer folks. It needn't be pricey, but I appreciate a present if it shows thought about me and my world. I did suggest it so it isn't quite the perfect example, but the jars of deep conditioner from my mom are in this field. It is something useful to me that helps in the love/hate battle with my thick, dark, long hair that I force straight since its natural state is a messy spot between curls and waves. And, since it is the weekly treatment type (vs daily use necessity), it is something that adds up in price and a luxury that I question spending the extra funds on given my limited income. Way back when, I had friends travel far to Big White Dress day who gave a small gift but whose presence meant more than the big checks and gift cards from family friends (not that I didn't appreciate the latter!!!). Likewise, Teddy MM is special not only b/c he was an early present but b/c his outfit has a bit of meaning behind it (note: I was mad at MM last night....when I am mad, I want nothing related to the target, so Teddy MM got thrown across the room....sorry, Teddy, not your fault...).
Again, I know that depth can be a tall order sometimes. It may even be unfair. It does, however, fit with the not-a-material-girl trend. I don't care about the object, I care about the sentiment. And dessert...I always like dessert :P
Tangent alert -- I was in CVS the other day. A mom, grandmom, and young boy were there too. Mom walked away and grandmom asked the boy what he thought they should get a younger child for a present. The boy (maybe 7ish, I'm not good at guessing) suggested a board game set. Grandmom asked if it might be a little too old for the kid in question. The boy, with all sincerity, replied, "It's okay. I can play with it for him." Favorite comment of the week! Loved that he really meant it and didn't see any conflict at all.