With Hanuka done, Jul has begun

Mmmm. Caffeinated socks...

Yesterday was the last day of Hanuka.  Matt was off the hook for presents, but I received one anyway: a package of the most awesome socks ever and a bag of Peet’s coffee beans, from my dad and his wife.  (I was so touched, I almost cried, and I’m not kidding — warm socks! And coffee to boot!)

But just because Hanuka is over doesn’t mean that I am off the hook!  This weekend, Matt and I will go in search of some special trinkets or something to bring back for his grandma and other family members, for our trip to Kimberley in a few weeks. This will not be my first Christmas celebration with some of these folks, but giving presents is a difficult proposition, no matter how well you know someone.

I think my friends Sera Sera and RLB are the best at gift-giving.  Sera Sera shared with me her secret this week:  Buy something that reminds you of someone when you see it.  Then send it whenever you like!   RLB does this too; I have presents from her that I am still using, a decade later.

I think another solution is asking people what they want, but that can be so hard to tease out of someone — still, for parents, that explains the whole write-to-Santa thing.  I already know what my mom is sending me for her Hanuka gift, to be opened in Kimberley!

I’m trying to embrace the moment. Here in Stockholm, we have entered the Jul Tid season, and the Swedes are not fooling around.  Just being downtown that other day put me into a buying mood, with all the lights in the windows and goodies on display — after I met a colleague for fika on Wednesday afternoon at Vetekatten, I was thankful that I had to go home again to work instead of letting myself loose in the stores and jul market at Hotorget.

This time of year also tends to spawn articles about commerce and why humans buy the way we do — here’s the latest on the science from ABC in Australia:  “My brain made me buy it,” read it and arm yourself for your next trip to the mall…

In the meantime, I have my container of pepperkakor (gingersnap-like cookies) in the kitchen, and a stack of gifts (new and recycled) ready to wrap for the next round of holiday giving.

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