THE CATALOGUES are full of faux fur–throws, pillows, mufflers, slippers, even wine bottle cozies and dog-bed covers. The upscale stores are agleam with jeweled this and fringed that. But what about stuff people can really use? I don’t mean new underwear, though that’s never a bad idea. I mean things that don’t necessarily excite (or baffle) the recipient (“Wow, a wine ‘nose’ training kit!”) but transmit a warm and satisfying “I really needed that” glow.
I don’t mind spending money on luxuries for myself, but I hate “wasting” it on necessities. So maybe someone will put the extension cord I need in my Christmas stocking. My friend Roni desperately needs the clear-plastic floor runner I found at Strosnider’s because her dog simply will not wipe his feet when he comes in from the rain.
Maybe combining the ideas of gift-giving and practicality is just too dull to carry the season. So feel free to buy twinkle trees and ugly Christmas sweaters and $28.95 tins of peppermint bark. But at some point take a deep breath and appraise your family and friends, and then maybe try for a glow instead of a gasp.