Editor’s Note

With my girlfriend’s birthday around the corner, I decided to do my shopping early. This was a dramatic change from my normal routine, which consists of completing personal tasks as late as possible.

I accomplished this by doing my shopping online, which took almost no effort whatsoever. I was able to buy everything without having to worry about getting dressed, shaving or driving up town. It was the lazy way out, sure, but the shopping was done, at least. Except that it wasn’t.

There was my girlfriend the next day, reading “Hemlock Grove,” the book I had ordered for her as one of her gifts. She had purchased it herself. Great.

I tried to cancel the order, but it was already on a truck somewhere, headed to my porch.

This is a perfect example of why I like buying and receiving gift cards. Sure, your significant other will probably be mad at you because it appears as though you have no idea what they would actually enjoy receiving. A gift card just isn’t personal enough, they might tell you.

But, just how many copies of a gift does one really need?

A couple of years ago, while I was tearing open a Christmas present from my dad and stepmom, she told me, “Sorry about that gift, Scott.”

“Why?” I asked moments before holding up the same shirt I was wearing.

Gift-giving is a game of chance. It can go really well, or it can totally backfire. That’s the way it goes, unless you buy a gift card – like I am for my girlfriend.

There will be no surprises this year and no excitement, but there won’t be anything to return to the store, either. Maybe I’ll redeem myself at Christmastime with a great, original gift idea for her. Or, maybe I’ll take the easy, unexciting way out.