or, Why I Won’t Be Making an X-mas List this year…

1. If you aren’t sure what I want, please don’t get me a gift for X-mas. Really. If you don’t know me well enough to know what I want, but you still feel somehow socially obligated to get me a gift, please give me a phone call for X-mas. And preferably, continue calling me throughout the year so that when X-mas rolls around again you will know me well enough to know what I want. Meaningful relationships with the people in my family and community are much much more valuable to me than anything you could pick up at the store.

2. If you really really want to give me something for X-mas, please give me something that you made yourself. I am at a time in my life when I can get pretty much anything I want that is available at stores. The only things I can’t get whenever I want are things that other people make by hand. Those things would be valued and appreciated. (Exception: If you have a rather large sum of money laying around and you would like to buy me something with it, I am in the market for land. Just sayin…)

3. If you don’t know me well enough to give me something that you made yourself, please refer to #1 above. Also note that if you don’t know me that well, I probably don’t know you that well, which means I’m probably not giving you anything either. But even if I do give you something, and you don’t give me anything, that’s okay. I don’t give presents as a form of extortion, so you shouldn’t take a present from me as a sign of obligation on your part. If I give you a present it will be because I *want* to give you something, not because I want something in return.

4. If you don’t know me that well, but you really really feel like you want to give me a present, and you don’t want to make anything and you can’t afford to buy me any land, please donate to a charity in my name. There are many many deserving non-profits out there that could use $10 or $25 much more efficiently than I can. Of course, I’m a big fan of Wilderness Awareness School. The Peace Corps has tons of volunteer projects that need funding, and you can search for different projects by type of project, or country, or what state the volunteer is from. Bead For Life is a really cool organization which is run by a colleague of mine from WAS and his wife. And there are approximately eleventy billion other really worthwhile causes out there.

5. If you really really really still want to give me something, but you don’t know what, and you don’t want to give me something you made yourself, and you don’t want to donate to a charity, then just know that I don’t have any shortage of “things”. In fact, I have more things than I have places to put them. I don’t need many things. What I am interested in is experiences. Get me gift certificates to cool places, or nice restaurants, or interesting classes being offered in my local area, or memberships to museums, or tickets to plays. Or just send me a check and let me decide what sort of experience I want to have with it. I’ll promise to send you an e-mail describing how it got used.