I really haven’t agonized over gifts this badly for a long time. A little bit of background – DH and I have just established this fragile new spending arrangement. I was afraid that if I bought presents for my nieces, when he’d already decided we couldn’t afford to spend money for him to send gifts to HIS nieces, well, our wonderful new fragile “let’s really be partners in this” might be set back a bit. So I used some gift money I got from Mom and Dad to actually buy the gifts. And I told DH that’s what I was going to use the money for, so that there was no mistake where it came from. He grumbled that it was my gift money and my call but he’d use his gift money for other stuff. And that’s fine. Then I called my brother to see what sorts of gifts they’d want. And as some of you will recall, I’m only recently reestablishing a relationship with my brother after 20 years of barely speaking to him. We didn’t have a fallout, we just weren’t real close. So I very much wanted to “play ball” and be the cooperative family member. He told me they’d enjoy the books, but they’d love gift cards to Target. Oy! That’s exactly the kind of gift I did NOT want to give – impersonal, temporary, and going towards who-knows-what which maybe would benefit them (I would have been OK with music and the like) but maybe would have been blown on the 5lb bag of M&Ms for all I know. So I agonized over that awhile too. Finally decided that nope, if Auntie Kath is going to give gifts, she’s going to give Auntie-Kath-type gifts. Right about then was when the news broke that Target credit and debit card user info had been stolen, so I felt very much justified in my decision. Had it happened with Amazon.com (and let’s face it, it could have), well, I’d still prefer books over cheap plastic crap from Target.
I bought them each a single book through Amazon.com, carefully chosen for their particular activities/ages. The really dumb part is that I dithered so long that by the time I finally decided to go that route, there wasn’t a prayer of getting it to them in time. And one of the books was on back-order anyway. I haven’t heard yet what the girls thought, but I hope they like the books. That was the best I could come up with. The biggest lesson from this particular fiasco is that kids don’t want grown-up presents, at least not at their ages, so I’d best figure out what to send the kids well in advance and just go make it happen.