Author: Campbell, Bruce

Holiday Gift Dilemmas for Musicians

In general, when a friend or relative has a hobby, that marks them as a cinch for birthday or holiday gifts. If they play golf, for instance, there’s a wide variety of gifts for golfers that can range from 18 holes at Pebble Beach (pretty spendy) or just a sleeve of golf balls.

If your friend or relative collects certain things, that’s even easier. It can spiral out of control, though. Cases in point: My youngest sister collected “I Love Lucy” paraphernalia, and my mother collected things with frogs on them. The friends and relatives got wind of this, and within five years, their homes were overrun with “Lucy” and “Frog” things, respectively.

Musicians? Well, I’m thinking right now that’s a lot trickier. First of all, what they all really want is a new top-end instrument, and unless you’re a Rockefeller or an NBA star,
those just aren’t gifts you can give. So you’re stuck with the myriad of affordable accessories every musician needs.

However, if you’re in a band with someone for a number of years, or worse – a number of bands for a number of years, it gets a little like the Frog/Lucy dilemma. How many sets of strings, capos, rosin, string winders and straps can you give until their homes are awash in the stuff? And multiply those decisions by 20 bandmates in 4 bands, and you’re in danger of going broke, AND getting labeled as a careless giftgiver besides.

You could end up penniless and alone.

People much, much better than I can look at a list of 20 names and come up with 20 affordable, thoughtful gifts, perfectly matched to each recipient’s preferences. All I see in my mind’s eye is a bandmate whom I love, revere and respect opening a box and saying “What the heck was Bruce thinking?”

I could make a charitable contribution in each of their names to some worthy organization, but do I have to risk choosing a charity that one of the friends will deem unworthy? I think I know my bandmates, but maybe one or two of them does NOT want the redwoods or spotted owls, or whooping cranes saved.

Maybe cooking is the thing – make a batch of cookies, or fudge or something, and prepare nice packages for everyone! Yeah, an afternoon in a warm kitchen, getting covered in flour and making something with my (well washed) hands.

Or maybe brewing some beer and handing that out to my bandmates who like hearty homemade beer you can’t see through?

I know I’ll think of something – I dearly love the people with whom I share stages during the year – those are really special times, and I could not be having those fun times without being surrounded by some amazing capable musicians. Maybe a heartfelt email would be nice – NO, that’s just crazy…

Posted:  12/12/2012

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