- Two photo frames, currently depicting my grandmother and my cousin (sorry, Matthew; you were taken down a month ago)
- A bendable Bender figurine from Futurama
- A model of Shandris Feathermoon from Warcraft III
- As many DVDs as will fit
In contrast, the fireplace at home is surrounded by dozens of pictures, paintings, knickknacks, candles, candle holders, old Christmas cards, bags of newspaper, a wreath, and I'm sure a variety of new things that I haven't seen yet. The house is absolutely packed with junk. My mom took over my bedroom after high school, and until it was time for me to come home for winter or summer break, you couldn't even get to the other side without doing your best Moses impression to part the sea of garbage.
You don't even want to see the basement.
For Mother's Day, I got my mom a gift certificate to a regional chain of gardening stores... my dad likes to hint that she doesn't need any more lotions; what she really needs is something that will get her some exercise. (Hope neither of them read this...) For Father's Day, though, I was a bit stumped. Gift certificates and Magic: The Gathering cards are the easy way out, and for his recent fiftieth birthday I sent him all of the spells that I could scrounge up that have to deal with old age and death, so Magic is straight out. Then it hit me: something collectible. They both love collectible things. I spent a few hours, and I found the perfect gift: a to-scale, posable model of the Cigarette-Smoking Man from The X-Files. It even comes with a miniature pack of Morley cigarettes and a sniper rifle with a tripod. And, I was right. He loved it... or so I heard from him and Mom. I have one of those rare mothers who can email me the line, "It's just what our house needed, a sniper rifle," and I know she isn't being sarcastic.
So, a success. Our family has a convenient tradition in which the children don't really seem to give much in the way of gifts to their parents until they're about my age, so I haven't had a lot of gift-giving practice before the past few years. But, I'm enjoying finding random, unexpected stuff that people will like—that I definitely get from my grandmother on my mom's side. I've actually bought a few gifts for people that I've decided not to give them: I have a framed photo from despair.com that I got for my manager but never gave him because I didn't want to give the impression of sucking up. Maybe if I do it right before review time (again, performance reviews!) he'll think it's funny. But, I mean, I bought Tracy a kangaroo scrotum. Maybe a framed photo with a funny tagline isn't so bad.