It’s December 1st. I better start my shopping or I won’t get all the gifts for all the people on my list. I have 25 people on my list. Oops, now I have 26 people. I forgot to add my newspaper lady P. She is one of the most important people in my life. She delivers my newspaper before breakfast every morning. She is so prompt. I don’t know what I would do if she quit the New York Times Home Delivery Service. I guess I would have to move back to NYC. P is definitely deserving of a BIG gift.

There’s the exterminator man J. He is another important person in my life. He arrives the first Friday of every month to make sure there are no creepy crawlers in my house. He also does a good job of getting rid of the mice that like to sneak into my basement when it gets cold outside. The mice are quite cute, but I don’t like when they decide to come inside my house. J is absolutely on my gift-giving list this year.

There’s the postman D. He is so nice to me too. He always waves and says hello when I see him delivering my mail. And whenever I have a big package, he delivers it right to my door. I must remember to put a ‘thank you’ gift in the mailbox for D.

There’s my house cleaner M. M arrives every other Tuesday and mops my floors and bathrooms, vaccuums my rugs, dusts. M keeps my house so nice and tidy. I love to come home after M has been at my house. It smells so fresh and clean. I’m going to give M an extra-special food basket to go along with her holiday gift.

“You love to give gifts,” said my daughter A.

“I know,” I replied. “It makes me happy.”

“You can always give me a gift,” said A.

“I know,” I replied. “It makes me happy.”

“You know mom, D (my son and her brother) doesn’t think he is getting a Chanukah gift this year. He thinks that since you give him so much money for college that he is not deserving of any additional gift,” said A.

“Of course, he will get a gift, but don’t tell him. I want to surprise him,” I said. “It makes me happy.” (Hopefully, he is not reading my blog and doesn’t find out that he is getting a gift. Shush, don’t tell him!)

It’s also time to make my yearly charitable donations and give to those who are most needy. There are so many in need this year. It’s difficult to decide which organizations to give to. I wish I could give to all those in need, but then I would likely be more needy.

I always select four non-profit organizations, then I divide up my charitable funds accordingly. I think this year, I will give to the local Food Bank to help those who are hungry. I will make my second donation to the Boys and Girls Club in my area in honor of my late husband. The Boys and Girls Club is one of the organizations that the Yankees contribute to…and my late husband was a big Yankees‘ fan.

Let’s see, ah yes, I must give my yearly gift to the Girl Scouts. I have such fond memories of scouting that I want to make sure their traditions continue. (What would life be without Girl Scout cookies…especially the Chocolate Mint ones?)

I’m going to make my last donation to some cause related to women’s health. Yes, I want to help women in need this year.

I must go shopping for the family that I’ve adopted too. This year my adopted family asked for food and other household essentials instead of gifts.

My yoga teacher told me about a wonderful new book that was just published. And then I read about the same book in the newspaper today. It is called “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.” It was written by Cami Walker, who has multiple sclerosis. Cami gave a gift each day for 29 days. Giving to others gave her a more positive outlook on life. According to the article in today’s New York Times, Cami said that “It’s about stepping outside of your own story long enough to make a connection with someone else. Giving for 29 days is not suggested as a cure for anything. It’s simply a coping mechanism and a simple tool you can use that can help you change your thinking about whatever is going on. If you change your thinking, you can change your experience.”

I don’t know Cami, but I bet I would like her if I knew her. I’m definitely adding this book to my reading list. In fact, I’m going to buy it during one of my shopping trips over the next few weeks. It is not going on my retirement reading list. Nope, I’m going to read it before 2010.

Big gifts, little gifts, memorable gifts, something for all 26 on my list. I better get moving, there are only 10 days left before Chanukah and 24 days left before Christmas. Wonder if all this gift-giving will help ease my menopausal headaches?