This issue of Southern Pa. Magazine marks the start of the holiday season. Halloween has just passed, and kids are still coming down off their sugar highs. Next up is Thanksgiving. Instead of kids loading up on candy, the adults will be loading up on turkey and stuffing. (For great-tasting turkey, check out our article on turkey farms and how to prepare the holiday bird.)
Don’t get me wrong. I like the holidays. I enjoy seeing family, even if I’m not the most sociable of people. I like the face-to-face interactions, which are so much more satisfying than Facebook photos or tweets. Of course, plenty of photos get taken that wind up on Facebook.
My problem with the holidays is buying gifts — but that won’t be your problem since you’re reading this issue. We’ve got some great gift ideas in these pages, from uniquely Gettysburg items to old things that will bring a smile to the faces of those receiving them.
I enjoy going out and finding a special gift for the people on my list (though, like many people, I tend to overspend). Once I have the gift hidden away (often months in advance of the holiday), my gift impatience kicks in.
I get excited to see what my friends and family think of the gifts that I picked out. I start to get anxious and look at the calendar daily counting down to the holiday. Then, with just a few days before it’s time to give it, I break down and hand the person his or her gift.
So now, despite my pre-planning, I’m left without a gift just days before when I need it. Depending on the person (and how close to the gift-giving time it is) I might be able to get away with saying, “You got your gift early.”
Other times, I’m back in the crowded stores looking for another special gift. In addition to cursing myself for giving the gift early, I’m not too happy being stuck in long lines.
I hadn’t really given it much thought before, but I guess I would have to agree with the saying “Giving is better than receiving.”
If you had asked me, I would have probably said the opposite, but I do enjoy finding that special gift for someone. Nothing beats seeing your gift make someone’s face light up with surprise and then laugh with joy. You know you’ve got it right and that every time that person uses that gift or looks at it, he or she will remember the pure joy that you gave them, even if it’s just for a moment.
That’s what makes the craziness of the holidays worth it.
I hope you enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.
James Rada, Jr.