I love giving gifts. By all rights, I should not. I have a gift list that would make Santa go slightly pale. It's not a question of quantity; I have a very small family. However,  have the world's most difficult family. Minimalists, critics, the never-satisfied. Holding out a gift sometimes feels like that scene in Roman Holiday where Audrey Hepburn puts her hand into the Mouth of Truth.

At the same time, there is nothing more remarkable than finding the perfect thing, the absolute peak gift. It's not always expensive. It's not always trendy. It's just right.

The trick is simple: thoughtfulness. I like to start by thinking about the person, their interests, their experiences over the past year. It's not about what they do--no vacuums!--it's about what they enjoy doing. My mom falls into both the minimalist and never-satisfied categories, but I've still managed at least one gift every year that has been uniquely her, from a satellite radio with dials to giant microwaveable hand mitts. Books? If it make me cry from the biting pain of human existence (vetting can be a rough experience), she'll love it.

Now, we all have someone who is impossible. No hobbies, no interests. My dad was like that. Every year, I'd find myself searching the internet for "Dad with no hobbies." Of course, it always devolved into recommendations for tools and such. Enter: the book. Not just any book, but the perfect book. The book that he needed, but didn't know he wanted. An old Mark Twain he'd never read. A turn-of-the-century pictorial guide to his hometown. An antique magazine with the first printing of a story he loved.

As long as your loved one is a reader, there is always a rare book for them. Have a World War II dad? A travel mom? A children's book best friend? As long as you pinpoint that exact interest, that latent passion, there will always be another rare book just as good as the one before. You'll be building your loved one a collection with lasting interest, potential long-term value. Their very own heirloom to pass down.

And that's a lot of holidays with perfect gifts. You might even start to love giving gifts as much as I do. Mouth of Truth moment aside...

November 12, 2022 — Opal Rare Books
Tags: blogging

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