BOOKS. Really good old ones—say, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck or “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, or kinda heavy stuff that has immediate relevance these days… I’m talking about, for example, a Howard Zinn book or futurist author Alvin Toffler’s trilogy on digital age, communication revolution, information overload, and technological singularity: “Future Shock,” “The Third Wave,” and “Powershift.” Or, maybe try neat easy-readings like a collection of Calvin and Hobbes or Marvel Superheroes Comics… Or, why not go for revered poetry in the likes of Pablo Neruda’s “Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada” ("Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair"), and although I am not necessarily talking about “Delta of Venus” by Anais Nin, cool erotica isn’t bad at all. (NOTE: I am strongly admonishing you NOT to dabble on e-books… or books read via a Kindle, or whatever it is where people read books these days, nah! Well, buy a Kindle but still—send the real stuff with a real book cover and real paper pages, guys!)
 A SPIRITUAL book. Whether you agree with me or not (oh well!), I believe that humanity has either lost or mixed up its concept or understanding of universal good and evil in the light of the current man vs machine “conventional wisdom” (if there is such a thing). Why not read back and reflect “the good book”—may it be The Holy Bible, Quran, Bhagavad Gita… The receiver may be an atheist, pagan, wiccan, anarchist, Taoist/Buddhist, or a DOC (Divine Order of The Cool)—it doesn’t really matter. Good is good, and bad is bad—but let’s (re)check things out and ponder a bit. Let’s look back to where humanity’s reflexes and responses were first anchored. Are you with me, Bob?
 A JOB. Last time I checked, unemployment rate in the United States was pegged at 9.80 percent—so it’s likely that the person who’s expecting a present from you is jobless or wanting to find a better-paying employment situation. This could be the most practical and realistic gift that you could give a friend or relative. Or maybe you yourself don’t have a job, right? So give yourself a present—go get your butt off the Facebook thang and find a friggin’ job!!!
 Cook a great DINNER. Whip out a special sumptuous gathering for 20 or 200—and declare it a Superspecial Party for her/him. Think of a costume motif: Superheroes, 30s era, polyester years, animal get-ups, witches ball etc etc etc. And cook the dishes, I mean—Armenian Easy Broiled Mackerel, Baby Bok Choy with Garlic, Bourbon Chicken, Bamboo Shoots on Coconut Milk. Be creative—chuck the usual breaded pork chops and mashed taters. Because this entails budget, you may require your party guests to bring gifts for her/him and for each other, like good old exchange gift-giving gig, got my drift?
 A gift that you feel is some stuff and thing that’ll make him/her HAPPY (depends on what’s their profession, persuasion, guilty pleasure, eccentricity etc). That’s what the entire deal all about, anyways—make the person happy! So, this time—try not to be so freakin’ politically-correct, killjoy-philosophical, or a some sort of whiny master of relevance… like you just read a mind-altering Utne Reader article or gotten off from a fiery activist gathering in a downtown bookstore/café… You know what I’m saying, bro? Yup—you may score (if you can reasonably afford them) an Amazon Kindle e-book reader (am I inconsistent!), iPad tablet computer, Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry, Titanium kitchen set, Black & Decker power tool, a Maserati Quattroporte V or a yacht (yes, a yacht!)… But then, in the case what you could realistically afford is a found treasure at a thrift store or Goodwill Outlet—so be it (just wrap it pretty nicely… sometimes, packaging and presentation do the trick).
 A PET. This is a personal revelation: babedawgs and koolcats touched my humanity this year. They are good company, especially when you coexist with dubious humans who can’t seem to settle down their ass or yap about anything at all on your exasperated face. Enough already! You see, animals don’t complain as much as whiny human beings do, and they don’t expect you to go fetch Kourtney Kardashian or Snooki Polizzi to cheer them up either… These cute superhomeys don’t expect you to walk upside down from the rooftop and down to your apartment unit to let them know you exist—they are not that stupid. They are cool living things, you know what I’m sayin’? Of course, you may expand your choices from babedawgs and koolcats to horses, birds, fishes, hamsters—but no pterodactyls, hippos, monkey-eating eagles, or anacondas. Okay?
 A prepaid MEMBERSHIP into something that you know may make him/her a better or peaceful person: yoga class, cooking class, exercise class, superheroes lovers class, scrapbookers class, bloggers class, contra dancing class, Eat Pray Love lovers class, hummus eaters class, meditation class, Rumi ruminators class, belly-flapper divers class etcetera. As long as the class is classy, you’re cool.
 A ROAD TRIP somewhere—just you and him/her. This could be a second/third/4th/101th honeymoon with your lovey-dovey or a long road drive with your daughter or son that you haven’t really done… Make up for lost time or just revive/rejuvenate the bonding. In between big city/small town stops, go watch an NBA game or a Broadway play, fish by the lake, visit a museum, marvel at Niagara Falls, or bungee jump at the Grand Canyon. You may reveal a long-kept secret (this maybe dramatic but make sure it’ll end up fine not both of you bruised and battered), propose a long-term union, suggest a collaborative project, unveil some sexuality ideas (hmmm….), whatever.
 A CD box set or a DVD collector’s pack. Nothing beats this GIFT SET, I tell you—this transcends age and lunacy, hormonal mood swings and madness-bouts. CD box sets from the Bee Gees’ “Mythology: The 50th Anniversary Collection” to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story” to “Sinatra: New York” to Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition” to Franz Schubert, all-time jazz greats, The Chipmunks – go get `em! As for DVD collector’s packages—I recommend “Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Brothers” (hints, hints, hints). This jewel is Eastwood’s entire filmography from “Where Eagles Dare” through “Gran Torino”: 35 films on 19 discs, including 16 two-sided discs. But, if you’re not a Clint Eastwood diehard like yours truly, well… go get some 4-in-1 $5 junk at Wal-Mart, instead (just kidding).
 YOURSELF. Be present… Just for the entire 24 hours on this special day, chuck the cellphone, stupid texting, Facebooking (uhh… uh, well), cable TV surfing, whining, ranting, complaining—and just be with the one/s you love. Enough said.
--Pasckie The Dude