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The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s time to ponder that most important of Christmas conundra: Which do you prefer, getting or giving?

Until a few years ago, I would have definitely said giving. Sure, as a kid, the getting was a big deal. It always is for the young. But as an adult, I found a lot more pleasure in the vicarious thrill of someone else’s enjoyment. A good headshrinker might be able to parse some of the reasons why, but I think it’s partly an altruistic nature and partly because I’m very selective about what I like. Nobody picks a gift for me quite like me.

However, as I become older and (in some ways) more mellow, I’ve discovered that getting is also good. When somebody cares enough to buy or make something just for me, there’s a warm glow to bask in. That’s a wonderful feeling, and one that I wish I had discovered years ago.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about you and the gifts you’re planning to give this year. We are less than a week from the big day, and it’s about time for the men to start their holiday shopping. Yes, that’s an old stereotype, but it’s lasted this long because it’s 85 percent accurate.

Now, when you choose a gift for someone, you have to determine whether the recipient is a giver or a getter by nature. Givers will be less happy with what you give them. It’s just the nature of that particular beast. If you’re gifting a giver, there are two good choices: A Visa gift card or cash. I know, these gifts seem less personal — but trust me, it’s what they want.

You’ve got an easier time with a getter. Getters are usually more transparent about their wants, so they’re a lot easier to read. They’re often collectors of something, and anything that adds to the collection is usually a very welcome gift.

What if you’re not sure? That’s OK; we can work around it. If you know them well enough to get them a gift, then you probably know what their main hobbies are. Gift certificates from businesses that cater to those hobbies are the perfect compromise. Every angler will be happy with a gift certificate to a local tackle shop. Any shooter would love to go on a little shopping spree at the local gun store. (Range time is also good — we all need more practice.)

If you really, really want to show somebody you care, something you made yourself is a great way to go. Don’t know how to knit? No worries; there’s something you do know how to do. Do you cook? Paint? Weld? Somewhere in your bag of tricks, you’ve got some kind of skill that would make a lovely present.

There’s also the gift of your time. Do you remember the coupons you used to give Mom at Mother’s Day? You know; “breakfast in bed,” or “clean my room.” It’s an idea worth reviving. The adult versions might be for fishing or hunting trips. These are really good because you get to share in the gift. You’re both going fishing.

Whatever gift you give, however big or small, no matter if it costs you a month’s salary or 10 minutes of your time — if it comes from the heart, it should be appreciated. And remember to show gratitude for whatever gifts you may receive as well. Because the holiday season isn’t really about getting or giving. It’s about expressing the love we feel for one another. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or

Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@


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