Life Advice



Single File: Gifting

Susan Dietz on

'Tis the season. It's back again, not to be denied. Crowds at the counter, mobs in the aisles, harried cashier at the register. Yup -- it's here, gifting (and regifting) time, but this year feels different: The needy are closer and their need feels greater.

-- Make a videotape and send it to your heart's delight. Take a few days to write the script, saying words you're too shy to say face to face -- romantic thoughts, but this year mixed with your own thoughts about making this holiday meaningful.

-- Make this a politically astute expression of love for that special someone by planning with him/her an unfussy gathering that deliberately adds new people to the usual group. Reach out to co-workers, classmates (present or former), friends of friends whose religion and beliefs may be far afield of yours, but whose basic humanity appeals to both of you. Dare to make this festive season a time for new beginnings for both of you. Share your plans and your attitudes with your love; your new approach to the holidays might shake him /her up, but when the dust settles, you will be more tenderly loved. This daring approach on your part is a risk, but one worth taking because the reward is so meaningful.

-- This holiday season can be a time for new beginnings for you as distinct individuals, and as a powerful team. Make this time of the year come alive with new ideas and wise priorities. Imagine the freshness you two will bring into the new year: new friendships, new ways of thinking. Details I leave to you two, with one caveat: good will to all people of good will!

-- Consider gifting your beloved with the book "50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth," from Earthworks Press, Berkeley, California. (I suggest wrapping it in recycled wrapping paper, naturally!) And one night over dinner, you might just hint that the two of you follow through on at least one of the 50 suggestions in each of the coming weeks. It's a not-so-subtle pledge to your beloved -- and to our planet. Whoever said lovers can't be practical!?


-- Adopt a pet. Even better, adopt two -- one for each of you. Don't even think of buying them -- liberate them from the nearest animal shelter! Do your research: ask a veterinarian for a list of the appropriate shots and any health issues you should know upfront before making any final decisions! Have the fun of naming them, buying their coats and rubber shoes, and of course the loosest, least binding leash on the market.

-- If the special person in your life has a younger sibling, do the unthinkable and ask them to come to dinner with the two of you! Imagine how it feels to be invisible, constantly left at home while your older brother/sister gets to go out into the grown-up world. Good karma will be yours for a lifetime!


We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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