This Christmas I got the inspiration to bypass the usual stocking stuffers - for example, candy or gourmet cheese - for friends, neighbors, clients, and even a therapist. I walked into the Dunkin' Donut on Route 80 in New Haven, Connecticut, had activated a bunch of gift certificates, and scooped up an equal number of those adorable gift cards.
The response was the big bang, and, sorry to mix the metaphor, for peanuts. One client sent me photos of her two young boys sitting at the kitchen table, with the booty they had purchased with their very own gift cards. A neighbor invited me to join her at DD, her treat, for a cup of coffee. A friend at the Jersey Shore emailed a standard contract, only dated for 2013, renewing our friendship. The therapist sent a handwritten thank-you note.
The Dunkin' creates that old-fashioned Christmas of simple but intense pleasure. There is a jolt of sugar, maybe with caffeine on the side.