In the Suburbs / The rush that comes with giving during the holidays

I was busy Christmas “shopping local” at my own bookstore in Fairfield recently when a friend approached me. “This isn’t your holiday,” she said. “Who are you shopping for?”

I smiled and said that I was shopping for my school principal, colleagues and good friends. And I told her that I do that every year, because I absolutely love spreading good wishes and happiness at Christmas.

Of course, my family gets Hanukkah gifts as part of our holiday celebration, but I always include a little something extra at Christmas because my younger daughter intermarried and my older daughter just loves the spirit, glitz and glitter of the holiday.

At this time of year, I make my own list that includes the manager, waiters and waitresses from Colony 2, my diner; my hair stylist; bookstore managers; my principal and the two secretaries in the office; my trainer from the gym; and close friends, among a few others. What I truly love is buying a small gift card or a book, buying a box of holiday cards and writing a special greeting.

What I enjoy even more is seeing the look of appreciation and the smiles on the faces of these special folks, especially the staff from the diner. Every morning, for instance, Dina, the manager, welcomes me with a smile and news about her family and her holiday shopping expeditions. Depending on the day of the week, Julio, Candy, Sandy or Marsha always brighten my day, even at 6 a.m., with a smile and great service. I’ve been coming to Colony 2 for nearly six years and it feels like home.

At the end of some school days, I head over to my second job at the Fairfield University Bookstore where I work with a great bunch of people, especially my managers who really make the work environment welcoming. Last weekend, I left the manager and the assistant manager their gifts (they’re off on the weekends) but felt that giving rush with my closing manager Jessica. She was really happy with the gift card and I suggested that this card be used strictly for her shopping. She promised to hold it until those great after Christmas sales.

Last week I had breakfast with my friend Bob — we met in a Fairfield cab in a snowstorm about 25 years ago and have been friends ever since. He and his wife love good wines, and I try to get good guidance each year. Giving Bob the traditional wine gift always gives me a good feeling. This year, we ate at Penny’s Diner and I presented him with a really nice Cabernet. I’m hoping for the best on this choice.

After our breakfast, I moved on to my hair appointment and my favorite hair stylist Kelley at Hair Company on Black Rock Turnpike. Kelley is very easy to shop for because she loves Banana Republic. For years I was able to find the most bizarre Christmas card for the gift, but over the past few years, the selection of wicked cards has dropped off a bit. She told me that was alright, because she enjoys reading what I have to say as much as the cards. That makes giving her gift a real rush for me.

Picking out a gift for the principal of the charter school where I teach has been pretty easy over the past four years because he is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan and they won this year’s World Series. But this year, I wasn’t completely sold on our selection of Red Sox books so I moved to the education shelves instead. I just gave him the books earlier this week and haven’t heard from him. So I don’t know if that’s a good sign or not. It gave me a rush to shop for the new books. Now I’m just hopeful, I made the best choice.

Our administrative secretary at the school loves to be surprised and pampered. For the last couple of years, I’ve chosen a manicure in the mall. This year was no different. She was absolutely thrilled and gave me a big hug.

Target worked fine for our other secretary and administrative person. Both enjoy shopping there and appreciated the extra gift for after the holidays.

I was a little behind with our kids’ gifts but managed to get those off to them this past week. Our younger daughter in Michigan loves New York & Company and Ulta beauty products and our older daughter is a big Kohl’s fan and loves Sephora also. Sending those gifts gave me a real rush. And my son-in-law loves Target and this amazing Michigan store, Meijer’s, so shopping for Gervasio was easy.

I’m all finished now with my rush of giving, but the good feelings about being able to acknowledge great service and colleagues will last the entire year. Now I can relax, plan our Christmas Eve dinner to a Chinese restaurant and think about great resolutions for 2019.

Happy holidays everyone.