- Advice for your Everyday Life
Section: money, manners 

Dear Ann Landers,
The season of frantic gift-buying is upon us. May I offer some gift ideas? My husband and I are in our late 60s, and have lived in the same house for over 40 years. At this stage of our lives, we are trying to downsize and simplify. Please don't give us things that need dusting, storing or hanging, no matter how cute you think they are. If you know us well enough to give us a gift, you ought to know our preferences, hobbies and health needs. Here are a few ideas: Please give us some homemade rolls or cookies; batteries for our smoke detectors, flashlights or hearing aids; a certificate promising lawn care, gutter cleaning or dinner at your home; a contribution to our favorite charity; a gift certificate to a restaurant, play, concert or sporting event; postage stamps; a phone card for our long-distance calls; film for our camera; golf tees, drill bits, yarn, bird seed, garden gloves, fancy paper napkins or cut flowers (no potted plants, please). From our youngest grandchild, we would love a blank scrapbook for his artwork, some chocolate chips or walnuts to put in her favorite cookies, flower bulbs we can plant together in the spring, or school photos for our wallets. Ask us to teach you to sew or fly a kite. We would love any of the above. Our closets and dressers are jammed, but you may have noticed that my socks are getting thin and the dish towels need replacing. Maybe you have discovered a super gunk remover or a sponge that lasts longer than two weeks. Please, dear ones, do not add to our collection of gadgets and whatchamacallits. On the other hand, if a child or grandchild hopes to inherit one of our gadgets or whatchamacallits, please let us know. It would give us great pleasure to give it to him or her now. Please -- NO MORE STUFF. We will thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any gift, of course, but you really don't need to give anything but yourselves. -- JoAnne in Michigan

Dear JoAnne,
I could not have said it better. Thank you.

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"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass."
-Ann Landers