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Thoughts from the Publisher | Dec. 8

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I can hardly believe that Christmas is less than three weeks away, and, according to friends and family, they too are amazed at the speed with which the holiday is approaching.

Besides attending all the holiday parties and events, I suspect many of our readers and advertisers will soon be dashing from store to store, with fingers crossed, hoping to find just the right last-minute gifts for their special someones.

While we race from merchant to merchant, I suggest that we all take a hot chocolate or toddy break and focus on finding presents that will really be appreciated by those who open them.

Through the years, I have been given many presents that were clearly part of a re-gifting program. In my opinion, instead of being given a random offering from someone’s crappy gift closet, I’d rather receive something like an inexpensive bottle of wine. After decades of smoking, my taste buds are less than discerning— so a chat with Randy at the Wine County in Signal Hill will guarantee that my secret Santa will find a bottle of bubbly that will suit his/her budget and make me happy.

Do you enjoy treating folks to restaurant meals? Fine. Your choices do not have to be on a list of five-star establishments. Chances are your guests will be just as happy at local eateries that specialize in excellent service rather than over-priced fare. If you’d like to splurge a bit, take your friends to brunch rather than dinner. Delius has a great brunch menu that is served on Saturdays and Sundays. [Note: they have bottomless Champagne at brunch priced at just $10 per person].

Want to really impress? Take your loved one’s car to be washed; to me that would be heavenly. Our very own Bixby Knolls Detail Center and Car Wash will do a great job. This year my hubby has promised me that for my Christmas gift, he is taking my car there to have it fully detailed, including having my headlight covers cleaned and shined.

With all of that said, if you do insist on re-gifting, do make sure that you don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

Years ago, our family had a Christmas gift-opening extravaganza at which one of our older relatives— I’ll call her Molly— re-gifted presents to some of our younger family members right in front of those who had given those very same items to Molly the year before. In some cases, the gifts were re-gifted to the children of Sally’s original gift givers.

I am grateful that our family thrives on humor and that no one had their feelings hurt. I know that Molly meant well, and I am sure she doesn’t even realize what had taken place. To make a bit of a game out of it, since our relatives know that Molly has most everything she could ever desire, our family members compete to see who can give her a present that she will actually keep for herself.

One year I knew I had won when she actually opened a factory-sealed package that contained my gift to her— at that point it was impossible for her to reassemble the item for regifting. Nailed it!

Yes, as I said earlier, time is ticking away for holiday shopping, so I suggest that we all make it easy on ourselves. For those of us who are still on the shopping bandwagon, we should keep our running around to a minimum. We can save time and gas while reducing our stress by spending our dollars at our local retailers and eateries in our own neighborhoods. Bixby Knolls, Signal Hill, Wrigley and California Heights stores are chock-full of unique and affordable gift items. Shopping in our own neighborhoods not only enhances our local economy, it also helps to guarantee that these hard-working shop owners will still be in business next year to once again provide a local shopping experience. Remember that restaurant gift cards make lovely presents as well.

Whatever you decide, think about giving presents that you would love to receive. Who knows? You might receive it back next year as part of the receiver’s re-gifting program.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Thoughts from the Publisher | Dec. 8