Barring military intervention or alien invasion, family gatherings are on their way.
Over the next several weeks, families and friends will be getting together to break bread (hopefully while wearing face masks), fight over the wishbone (maybe over Zoom) and grunt about football or politics in between mouthfuls of mashed potatoes (remember, social distancing is your friend).
A few of us only get together over the holidays because Mom makes us. Some of us haven’t seen one another since early spring because of the pandemic.
In that time, a lot has happened. Hairlines have receded. Weight has been lost or gained. And almost universally, in every family, someone has had a baby.
It is considered polite to bring a gift when meeting a new family member for the first time — and no one is going to believe the card got lost in the mail.
There is a huge industry built around baby gifts. There are elaborate rattles, mobiles, blocks and brightly colored playsets to delight the infant eye. There are entire stores devoted to just baby fashion. There are baby books, baby strollers and baby swings, but I’m going to save you some trouble.
The best gift to give an infant this holiday season is the gift of coffee.
By now you think I’ve lost my ever-loving mind, but hang on.
Odds are the new or relatively new bundle of joy is awash in everything from toys they have absolutely no interest in, to adorable clothes the sweet angel child will ruin after their first jar of creamed spinach.
They got all of this stuff the first week or so after the precious one arrived, which may have been some time ago. Odds are, they’re just fine, thanks for asking.
The new parent(s), however, could probably use a little pick-me-up to help get through the long nights or cope with the bleary mornings that follow.
Good coffee is my No. 1 pick.
Buy it by the pound or get it by the gift card from their favorite shop.
Purchase real coffee, not instant. You’ll want the premium stuff, not because you’re sure your friend or family member knows the difference, but because a one-pound bag of overpriced gourmet coffee is way more thoughtful than a five-gallon plastic tub of cheap, granulated cigarette butts.
If they’re not into coffee, let me suggest diet soda. Stay away from energy drinks, which tend to make me want to argue with trees.
The kid won’t thank you, but lucky for you, babies remember very little at that age. They won’t hold a grudge and you can spoil them rotten later.
In the meantime, do something nice for mom and/or dad.