Having a weblog means I am able to rant about random crap without pissing off friends. So... Growing up, Christmas presents, especially after elementary school or so, were either fun things you wanted or stuff your parents gave you that was for your own good. The most expensive gifts I got were all supposed to make me a better person [at least unconsciously, I don't know for certain growing up that was the idea]. [Now, of course, I have gotten to the point that I don't really need any more Christ centered self help books. Thanks, though.] The perfect gift would be the thing you opened on Christmas that you didn't know existed anywhere in the world but you very much wanted. I exchange gifts with a family, 2 parents, one 3 year old kid. I am the kid's godfather, or "uncle," or whatever. Odds are, I will never have kids of my own. Man, that was a lot harder to write than I would have thought. That's probably why I've been grumpy recently. Anyway. The female friend is Jewish, the guy is at most agnostic, the kid is being raised Jewish. So, what Christmas traditions [as opposed to holiday traditions] they have come from his family. Their gift giving at Christmas involves sending out a list of everything they want or need, to make it easier to shop for everyone. Now, this family has a reasonable amount of disposable income, so when something one of them wants is priced cheaply they will buy it. This means things that make it onto the list are either expensive enough that it's more than they would spend for a spontaneous purchase [like a kayak, or jewelry] or it's something they didn't really strongly want. The last couple of years at least I've been making a Christmas wish list to give to them. It's hard because it just feels wrong. The other side is that I've been tending to spend a lot more on gifts for them than they've been spending on gifts for me. [especially last year- lots of time to go shopping, lots of cash in bank account]. In the kid's case, that's fine, that's right, that's expected. In their case I can't figure out if there is some hidden rule under which they're operating [the guy without kids must have more discretionary income, so he should spend more], or what. Or if there were years in which he gave me more expensive presents than I gave him, and this gets the balance even. It does seem unfair that they are giving me presents that are less expensive than anything on their list. And, Christmas shouldn't involve fairness, I should be happy to give things with no expectations of getting anything back. Anyway. End rant.