Intersections – The Perfect Gift

Posted by December 23, 2015
Nicki Salcedo

Nicki Salcedo

By Nicki Salcedo, contributor 

I know how to perfectly wrap a gift. It involves lots of tissue, expensive wrapping paper, ribbon, a paper cutter, scissors, tape (both single and double-sided), and possibly a small ornament. This knowledge is wasted on me. I don’t have a worktable in my house. I don’t have the expensive wrapping paper anymore. They stuff they sell at school fundraisers is no better than notebook paper on a big spool. That’s where I am in life. Dull scissors, tape that cannot be found, and crumbled wrapping paper. I love Christmas. I’m like Buddy the Elf of Christmas, but I’m not great at giving gifts.

I’m well-known for giving books. I’m a book whisperer. If you don’t know what you’d like to read, I can help you pick a new book or new author after asking you a few easy questions. We give our teachers books. I give my nieces and nephews books. It’s not really exciting for them, but it is for me.

If you think that books are boring, wait until I tell you about the socks. Let it be known, I am the only person who loves getting socks for Christmas. I like warm wool socks and crazy bright colored socks. Socks are a few of my favorite things.

There was the year I gave boxes of cereal. It was a tough year. I figure cereal is better than nothing. Or is it?


My amazing gift wrapping skills came for working at Neiman Marcus. I spent three holiday seasons in the Gift Galleries department. That’s where they keep the good stationery, the good pens, china, and Christmas decorations. In addition to my useless knowledge about Star Wars and Star Trek, I know a great deal about Lalique and Limoge and luxury writing instruments. Common folk call these pens.

I had a great time working at Neimans, but it possibly ruined me for Christmas forever. I helped one man buy a Faberge Egg for his wife. I helped another man feel the weight of every writing instrument we had in our case. We’re talking $5,000 for a pen. About the same for the Faberge (also known as a desk egg).  $5,000 is the cost of an egg that sits on your desk and collects dust. Why are my crazy socks boring? At least they get to travel with me.

Each year at my birthday or Christmas, I think of treating myself to a big gift. I work hard, and I’m worth a periodic indulgence. Unfortunately, the list of possible gifts I came up with to give myself was a little disappointing:


– New vacuum cleaner.

– A really good blender.

– A toaster that can toast 6 slices of bread or more. At the same time.

– A few acupuncture sessions.

– Wool socks.

It turns out that my definition of amazing is different from Spider-Man’s definition of amazing. My willingness to indulge myself is non-existent. I should’ve know this already. The only time I consider playing the lottery is when the jackpot gets over $300 million. One time, I decided to make a list of things I would purchase with my winning ticket.

I wrote down “Honda Accord.”

Not only is a Honda Accord not a luxury car, but at the time I already owned a Honda Accord. I amended my list to say, “New Honda Accord.”

My spouse advised me that one item was not a list and certainly not the list of a lottery winner. I added that I would buy houses for my mother and my mother-in-law. After that, I could not think of another thing I would buy.

I’ve heard the stories about people who get mad when they got a tea kettle for Christmas or a vacuum for their birthday. What am I going to do? Demand a pair of wool socks? Yes! And I want wool gloves, too.

I could find indulgences that aren’t a toaster and a new vacuum cleaner. On the other hand, I want to accept my simplicity. I have lived my life without ever wearing a diamond ring or a tennis bracelet. I like that part of me. I hope that part of me never changes. Then again, a luxury writing instrument is a temptation. I like a nice pen. I like to write.

There will be books given in my house. Maybe a box of cereal or two. The New Year is coming. The main gift I need to give myself is figuring out which parts of me need to change and which parts of me should stay the same.

Intersections,” the book, is a collection of columns from and beyond. It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.



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