In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 7, 2012/ 23 Kislev, 5773

When the gift receiver is not to blame

By Greg Crosby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Shopping. You'd think by this point in my life I would have it down pat. Six decades into living and I still don't know what I'm doing. Don't get me wrong, I know how to shop for myself - that's easy - I walk into a store, find what I need, pay for it and leave. No muss and no fuss, as they used to say. No problem there. The problems start when I have to shop for anyone other than myself. That's when it gets complicated.

My wife has long ago learned never to send me to the store for anything more involved than milk or bread. Any item that has more than one syllable in its name requires that she write it down on a shopping list for me. And even then it can be iffy. You can't just get a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup anymore because there are at least half a dozen different kinds of the thing. There is condensed, there is low sodium, there is chunky, there is Home-style, there is reduced calorie, there is tomato and bacon (or is it bean and bacon? Or tomato and bean?). And don't get me started on coffee brands, coffee flavors and coffee strengths.

Drug store items such as toothpaste, cough drops, and pain or cold medications are particularly troublesome since every brand comes in a dizzying array of iterations. Take pain relievers, for example. There is aspirin, but then we have ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Which one do you want? But it doesn't stop there, oh no. Do you want the mild or the migraine strength? Do you want instant relief or long acting? Regular or nighttime? Caplets, capsules, or tablets? Coated or non-coated?

Cold medications will drive you nuts as you stand in the aisle perusing the dozens and dozens of products, trying to match the symptoms they list on the boxes with the symptoms you need relief with. Unless you have a degree in chemistry you're out of luck. Cough drops should be easy, right? If you said "right" then you haven't been paying attention, I suggest you go back to the top of my column and read it again from the beginning.

Now we come to the holiday season which is really the gift giving season. Yes, it's the merriest time of the year, as Andy Williams used to sing. Oh sure, what did Andy care? He probably had a professional shopper on his staff that would go out and do his entire gift buying for him. All Andy had to do was choose a sweater and scarf to wear for his Christmas show (or did his shopper take care of that too?).

It isn't that I don't enjoy the idea of gift giving, I do. I like the concept of giving someone something and watching their little face light up with joy and happiness when they unwrap it and see that "perfect gift." Ah, there's the rub! It's honing in on the "perfect gift" that stumps me. If I could just get people things that they would really appreciate then it would be great, but it doesn't always work out that way. Many times it's either the wrong size or the wrong color or the wrong style or, well, just plain wrong.

There is nothing quite as deflating to a gift giver than watching a person open the gift you bought them only to see their expression morph through three distinct changes. First, as they are opening it, their face is in gleeful anticipation; then once they focus on what the thing is, their face scrunches into bewildered disappointment; and finally (and very quickly so that hopefully no one will notice) the face takes on a pretend happy-smiley-face. "OH! Thank youuu! This is….great. Really."

I should hasten to add that the one who was given the gift is not to blame. After all, it's not their fault that the gift is wrong. They certainly WANTED to like it. The fault lies with the giver not with the givee. I should have learned by now that the only way to get that "perfect gift" is to go shopping with a shopping list, preferably one that the intended gift-getter has written out for me. With everything spelled correctly.

Forget the surprise gift. It never works. It will only bring you the dreaded three expression morph (see two paragraphs back). Just buy them what they have put on their list and be done with it. Either that or get them a can of tomato soup.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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