Today is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States who is celebrating Thanksgiving about 15 hours later than we did in Korea. My family and I spent the morning putting up our artificial Christmas tree, and then we went to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by our community association. Afterwards, we went home and decorated our home festively for the holidays. The Thanksgiving dinner was not quite the cozy, family-style affair I’m used to at Thanksgiving, but it was still enjoyable. I emceed the event and introduced our special guest, the U.S. Ambassador to Korea, who read the annual Thanksgiving Proclamation to the audience. Following the Proclamation, I sat with the Ambassador and his wife and talked to them for awhile. I cannot say enough how much I am impressed by them. They raved about the food, which I thought was rather kind considering that it tasted a bit mass produced. The turkey and mashed potatoes were delicious, but the beans and stuffing lacked flavor. We had enough leftovers to feed a small army and sent a bunch of food home with attendees.
Buying Christmas gifts for family and friends is a tough endeavor. You probably face the same dilemma each Christmas season. Our family typically starts Christmas shopping right after Thanksgiving, when the newspaper publishes a large stack of after-Thanksgiving Christmas sale advertisements. We usually put together our Christmas gift list over Thanksgiving and go shopping the following Friday or Saturday. Last year, my father-in-law and I stood in line for at least two hours the day after Thanksgiving to buy electronics at Best Buy in the United States. It was freezing! The bargains made it worth the wait, though. This year is different. There are no after-Thanksgiving Christmas sales here because Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Korea! We received just one advertisement from an American-style department store, which we will visit this weekend. Now that our Christmas tree is up and decorated, we need to surround it with some gifts.
It’s very tricky figuring out what gifts to buy. Do you find that you end up buying the same type of gift for the same people each year? A tie or cologne for dad? Sports gear for your brother? I think the key to buying ideal Christmas gifts is to be on the lookout for people’s needs. Even those who seem to have everything still have needs. My sister came up with a great idea for my parents, and we’re going to buy them a joint gift this year. I saw an Asian gift that would perfectly fit my sister’s home decor and bought it for her (she rarely reads this blog, so I don’t mind broadcasting it to you).
I always have trouble coming up with gift ideas for my wife. It was much easier when we were younger and starving college students. I can’t buy her clothing or jewelry, because invariably those gifts make their way to the "Returns" counter at the store where I purchased them. This year I think I have a good gift idea for my wife. She seems to purchase a new purse about every six months. She has a purse fetish, no doubt! We have a box of old purses, and none of them belong to me. I think the purses she’s bought before were perfectly fine, but no, she has to have that really nice, trendy Gucci or Coach bag. No Louis Vuitton yet, fortunately! Interestingly, she never replaces her wallet. The other day I was rummaging through her wallet for cash, and I noticed that she had attached a paper clip to the zipper! The zipper pull had fallen off her wallet ages ago, but only recently she replaced it with a paper clip. In my opinion, the paper clip works just fine as a makeshift zipper fix, and the silver tint of the paper clip matches the zipper. However, if you’re going to carry a wallet like that in a Gucci or Coach bag you should probably get a new wallet too! I might just have to indulge her this Christmas.