Dwight Gooden "Happy Hanukkah" Ball Contest: The Art of the Gift.

It always amazes me how much people procrastinate.

They wait. And wait.

And wait.

I’ve always operated in a very different mode.

My wife and I started dating right after New Year’s in 1987 and I knew she was “the one” from the get-go. I sent her a Valentine’s card around the middle of January, a month ahead of schedule.

She was attending grad school at the University of Chicago at the time and she called me from the Windy City.

“You know, Valentine’s Day is February 14,” she told me. “You’re a little early.”

“I wanted to make sure you knew who your Valentine was,” I said. “I had to be first.”

I have to assume that many people reading this are still pondering their holiday gifts; 65% of all holiday shopping takes place during the last four days of the season.

Not me though. I send out my holiday gifts around Thanksgiving. I want to be first with all my gifts to friend and clients – and I also don’t want to have that pressure of worrying what to get everyone in the final days.

Plus, people remember a gift better when they get it in isolation, as opposed to receiving it with a bunch of other holiday presents.

I buy gifts year-round; when I see something I know somebody would like, I try to buy it for them, no matter the time of year. That makes it a lot easier to get everyone the right gift; I don’t limit my selection to what’s available during the brief holiday season. By the time November rolls around, I already have most of my gifts in my closet, ready to go.

There’s nothing better than feeling like you got someone something they’ll really use and get enjoyment out of.

But I fear that with the impersonalization of the holiday season, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all that, we’ve lost the fine art of gift-giving.

It’s turned into more of a gift-dumping.

Are your gifts things your loved ones will remember? Will they be there before the others?

Tell me about one of the best gifts you’ve given or received in the comments section below; one of you will win a baseball signed by Dwight Gooden and inscribed by him with “Happy Hanukkah.”

(I don’t even know why I’m giving this ball away – it’s pretty darn cool!)


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