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A Culture of Giving

very fall, the moment the weather changes, I begin fantasizing about the version of myself who makes Christmas gifts for friends: jars or bottles carefully filled with homemade and charmingly labeled with chicken scratch. I’ve put a lot of thought into that perfect homemade gift. It’s planned weeks or months in advance, and it impresses with its thoughtfulness. It can’t be bought. It’s a gift that will be consumed—that disappears, so it doesn’t become an albatross, something the recipient is saddled with and unable to throw away out of guilt. It should be an edible gift that lasts a fairly long time to remind you of my friendship, but doesn’t oppress with its presence or expiration date, demanding you eat it, or filling you with shame when you notice it in the fridge and don’t. And it should be a

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