I’m sort of a baa-humbug kind of holiday gift shopper. As my kids morph in their middle age, my gift-giving theme is trending more practical than frivolous. I’ve purchased jumper cables for my daughter (because she’s run out of free jumps from AAA; a backpack computer case for one son (who can’t seem to keep his college papers together); and a battery back device for my other son (he always claims that his phone is out of power when I try to call).

Maybe it’s the manager in me, but with every investment I want some sort of return. I’m justifying this year's holiday gifting by telling myself that these gifts will reduce stress everyone’s lives. I’m certain this will bring us closer as a family.

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By the way, I think I know what my kids are planning for my holiday gift. I’ve just become a parent of an adopted olive tree in Italy. The package comes with its picture, adoption papers, and the promise of fresh olive oil from its fruit. I know their expectation on the return of their investment.  Written on the card as if it came from my newly adopted offspring was this note. “Please send my sister to visit me!!!”

My daughter can be devious.

Have a great holiday season!