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It’s better to give than receive — but not always easier

Frank Ready
Frank Ready

My dad’s birthday is today and I am absolutely hopeless at wrapping presents.

On some deep, intuitive level, I think that I’ve always known this about myself, but the hard evidence has been steadily accumulating over the course of the past several Christmases.

The truth is that when you’re a child, nobody really cares about these kinds of things. You’re just a cute kid with a pre-distressed macaroni picture frame dripping with glue and cocooned in about 50 feet of wrapping paper.

And everybody thinks it’s adorable.

No one ever stops to consider that what they’ll eventually wind up with is a 28-year-old who still has to ask permission to use mom’s good scissors.

I ask you: Is that the kind of son you still want to be putting up with in your mid-50s?

Gift giving is serious business now. I’m not nearly cute enough anymore to get away with anything that cost less than $30… possibly $40 depending on how my last trip to the barber went.

And it has to be something good, you know? It can’t look like something you picked up randomly while wandering the halls of Target 20 minutes before the party.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Williams-Sonoma attempting to pick out a gift for a couple tying the knot in Virginia. I had never done this before unsupervised.

I had never done this before, period.

My mother had suggested that I buy them something engraved because … I don’t know. Sometimes married folk can’t tell their wine glasses apart?

I ended up buying them a cheese board and then doubling back to get the matching set of knives just so they could enjoy the full range of experience.

In hindsight, I think that it was actually a pretty decent gift. Also, that they would have preferred cash.

I borrowed some wrapping paper from my parents’ house (most of my investments are tied up in reusable gift bags and plain brown envelopes) and got to work.

The final product was, dare I say it… a little uneven. But I was proud of myself.

I was driving back home the day after the wedding when it hit me.

I had forgotten to leave a card.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready