On January 4, 2023

The gift that keeps on giving

By Dom Cioffi

I’ve developed a few talents in my life and one of them is gift giving.

Nothing brings me more joy than to wake up Christmas morning and watch everyone around me open the gifts that I bought them. Sure, I like opening gifts as well, but I’d much rather give than receive.

Being a good gift-giver takes time and effort and can’t be successfully accomplished at the last minute. For instance, I take notes throughout the year for gifts. If you’re an important person in my life, I likely have your name in my phone with a list of possible gift ideas listed underneath.

Once I’ve zeroed in on a particular gift for someone, I then start looking for the best purchasing options. Amazon has been a boon for anyone who wants to research gift items for legitimacy, quality, and price, so I spend a lot of time there investigating ideas.

I tend to splurge on my wife for Christmas. I love finding unique things to buy her that she’s not expecting. For instance, she sometimes complains about her eyes hurting after a long day on the computer. A made a note of this and did some research and discovered this nifty little cooling gel eye mask that helps soothe tired eyes.

My wife is also a notoriously messy eater, so this year I bought her an adult bib with the phrase, “I Spill Everything” screen printed on the front.

Another gift that she was especially fond of was the plastic martini glasses I got for her tennis club, where — per the rules — the bartenders pour the martinis into plastic solo cups (no glassware allowed outside). Half the fun of a martini is drinking it out of the correct receptacle, and now she’s got them.

Clothes are the only gift I avoid buying my wife. Over the years, I’ve learned that she has very particular tastes (which change with the seasons), so I don’t even try anymore. Instead, I give her a large chunck of money and tell her to go nuts.

That’s what happened this year and she took full advantage of the opportunity. Within a few days after Christmas, dozens of boxes began arriving at our front door. After trying on clothes for two days, she chose her favorites and then loosely boxed up the rest to return.

Given that my son was on winter break and had very little to do, my wife corralled him into delivering several boxes of clothes to a nearby mall where they accepted returns.

My initial reaction was to balk at the idea, but she got it in her head it would be good for him to do it. So, on a cloudy Saturday morning last week, my son loaded up his car and left for the mall.

I was rummaging around cleaning up the house while my wife was in her office getting some work accomplished, so neither one of us paid much attention to him when he drove away.

About 20 minutes later the phone rang. I could tell by my wife’s exasperated voice that something was wrong. The next thing I heard was my wife stating, “What do you mean none of the boxes are in the car?”

As I came walking into her office to inquire, she ran past me and out the front door. Confused, I followed her and then saw multiple boxes in the road in front of our house with clothes strewn up the street.

Apparently, my son had placed the open boxes on the roof of his car while he attended to something else and then got in and drove away, leaving hundreds of dollars of women’s clothing to the whims of nature.

Luckily, the road was dry (which was a miracle) and nothing was ruined (another miracle). And thankfully, my son then made the return trip back to the mall and got her refund (the final miracle).

Christmas week also saw another return with the release of the second Avatar film, “Avatar: the Way of Water,” James Cameron’s follow up to the 2009 three-time Oscar winner.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since the original Avatar film was released. Absence apparently makes the heart grow fonder since this new incarnation is nearing $1.5 billion in ticket sales globally, making it one of the most successful films in history.

There’s no doubt I was visually mesmerized throughout this film (especially since I saw the 3D version). The story is good enough to keep you engaged but nothing too compelling.

Check this one out just to be part of the conversation. Eventually, all films will look this good, but for now, it’s mesmerizing to see the future of the cinema.

A visually stunning “B” for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” now in theaters everywhere.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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