Around this time I often have misgivings about Christmas because it’s such a high-energy season with gifts, parties and travel all during the same month.
I vividly remember one incident the year we were on our way to Montego Bay in Jamaica. The plane was on the tarmac waiting to take off. I had a stack of Christmas cards on my lap that I was addressing at a furious pace. Suddenly, the wise guy seated in front of us stood up, looked down at me and said in a loud voice, “Oh, my God, she’s doing Christmas cards.” What a nerd!
Buying Gifts for Your Close Family
Many presents are returned the day after Christmas so we can safely say they were not right for the recipient. Here are some thoughts:
For Mother – don’t give her a crock-pot; your gift should be for her
For Sister – make sure you have the right size and a color she likes
For Dad, Brother, Spouse – it’s hard to shop for men so think about an activity. One year, I gave my father a tackle box for his fly-fishing trips
For Kids – give them something they won’t break in an hour or two
Manhattan stores dress up for the holidays
Going Along with Silent Santa at Work
Love it or hate it, you have to be a good sport. Make sure you stay within the $10-$20 limit. Spend too little and you’ll look like an El Cheapo (a bag of candy doesn’t do it). And please, no boxes of Godiva truffles for ladies who are dieting. One year I received a Barnes & Noble gift card that I spent on a terrific-looking calendar for the coming year.
Looking at a Real or Faux Tree
This is another topic that comes up every year. Frankly, I no longer buy real trees. The best fake I ever purchased came from Gump’s in San Francisco: it came with all the ornaments and lights elegantly attached. I really love the idea of the real thing, but it just seems too much work when one lives in Manhattan.
One art director in my office puts her real tree up on December 1st because Noodles, the cat is a big fan. He goes under the tree on that date and doesn’t come out until January. Okay, he comes out for the essentials, but goes right back under again.
Tipping the People Who Serve You
In New York, tipping the superintendent, doormen and porters of your building is not an option – it’s a necessity. It also has to be done in the workplace. I remember one year when one of the executives where I worked said, “No tipping. We don’t tip in Texas.” Did we get limited service after that decision? No. We got zero service for the next year. It may not be right, or even legal, but that’s the way it is.
A building gets into the spirit of the holidays
Showing Up at the Office Party
I think I’ve been to every type of office party imaginable: in the office, out of the office and into restaurants, nightclubs, bowling alleys, billiard parlors and more. One of the most memorable events was a party in Manhattan with the catered food coming from New Jersey. The truck got stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel so dinner arrived at 10 pm. There was an open bar. Need I say more?
MAY WE SUGGEST…
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