Welcome back to “Family Week”. Today is my younger niece’s birthday and now both nieces have reached the age where they are “easy” on their big days.
With both now in college, I no longer have to hunt down cute cards with bunnies or butterflies or princesses. I am now able to unleash “Weird” Uncle Jeffrey and shop at the Shoebox section as is my wont. (I still stay away from the “naughty” section…they are my nieces after all).
On the gift front, that’s also become easier. My older niece shares my affinity for fantasy, science fiction and comic books, so picking out stuff for her is well within my range of expertise (as opposed to, say, shopping for girl’s clothes). This year, I got her a collection of comics that explains the villain that made the cameo appearance for about 4 seconds during the credits of the Avengers movie. (Really, that actually was easy).
The younger one, sharing less of that interest and less time with me, does have a couple of weaknesses, one of which I am happy to provide for her. By request, she asked for a batch of my homemade macaroni and cheese. Yes, seems simple enough, but we’re talking about two pounds of cheese, of seven different varieties, slow melted on the stove and then baked crispy in the oven. Nummy! And easy!
As for the rest of the family (i.e., the old people), they’re fine with cards and some witty or heartfelt personally-penned message. I’m good at cards (it says so in my writer’s bio, so it must be true), so that’s easy, too.
This is so much better than the “old” days when I used to attempt to figure out and hunt down gifts unique to each person. Granted, I was an overpaid member of Corporate America and not an impoverished author, but I think everyone finds that, over time, the demand for gifts tends to decline (unless I break down and get a girlfriend).
Next up on my birthday calendar is a former co-worker. She’s usually happy with a breakfast and a day at the farmer’s market.