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Tis' almost the season of giving, and some of us like to get a head start on our shopping...


Some people are just impossible to shop for. When in doubt, it's best to buy unisex and useful. Though Christmas is over a month away, it's never a bad idea to get ahead, and to start thinking of the tougher people on your gift list.

Redditor u/MrPartyPancake gave us some ideas for our Christmas shopping lists by asking... What's the best gifts you can give a person, no matter if they're female or male?

20. Gift idea compatible with USBs and Spotify playlists

Giphy

"My brother and I (43 and 41) give each other mix CDs every year. It's my absolute favorite gift because he put the time and effort to think about it and make the CD. We've done this since college when we were too poor to get each other real presents."

audreybear1

19. This useful gift hits the nail on the head 

"Young adults who've moved out on their own often need tools for basic household maintenance. My uncle gave me a tool box when I was 18 and it was one of the best and most useful gifts I've received."

Coloradical27

"My Dad gave me an awesome metal carrying type toolbox first year I was on my own. Each year he'd give me some tools, hammer, ratcheting screwdriver, tape measure, etc. I have the most awesome set of tools for taking care of stuff now."

blatentpoetry

18. A gift that keeps on giving all year long

"If you know someone is into skincare or cool trends, subscribing them to a gifted monthly box is a great idea. My mother is tough when it comes to presents. I bought her a year-long subscription to Birchbox and she gets monthly samples of skincare, makeup, and hair products. It's tailored to her and she loves the little present that keeps on giving.

Buffalospiders

17. Anyone would appreciate this

"For the last handful of years I've asked for a Southwest Airlines gift card. I don't need anymore things, and I prefer to pick them out myself when I do, but I fly multiple times a year, so having a flight or two paid for is nice."

milesperhour25

16. Redeemable experiences

"Lately I've been just buying everyone in my family a groupon or gift certificate for a cool local activity. Escape rooms, massages, dinner, a day at the zoo, ropes courses. There are a lot of great options.

People tend to be happier when given an experience rather than a thing. I don't remember what my mother got me for Christmas last year but my sister got me and my husband a pass to an escape room and we had a blast."

TheBrontosaurus

15. All that's missing is some milk

Giphy

"One year my sister and I baked a whole mess of various cookies. We did two types of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal, white chocolate macadamia, a coconut macaroon thing, brandy snaps, and decorated sugar cookies. We threw a few of each of them into cheap tins, attached a nice card, and mailed them off the next day to everyone we could think of."

abudhabidootoyou

14. For the cat lovers on your list

"One of my favorite Christmas presents was a self-cleaning litter box. It was made to roll to one side and a little drawer caught all of the clumps and strained the litter. So much easier!

I had no idea such magic existed."

zigazigazah

13. Everyone has a favorite piece of luggage

"One year my godfather got me a small suitcase. One of those carry-on sizes. It's been 15 years, it's falling apart a bit, but I still use it all the time! Perfect size for just weekend getaway trips; ie staying at a friend or family's house, out of town for a football game, etc."

ceruleanpure

12. We all have cell phones, so this is perfect

"Portable USB power supply is handy for anyone with a phone or other devices."

NotVerySmarts

11. A potentially very valuable gift

"I once had a boss who gave each employee a lottery scratch ticket. Everyone enjoyed seeing if they won or if anyone in the office won. Went over pretty well."

D-chelle

10. A one of a kind gift

"My grandfather died about 25 years ago. I worked in a trade for many years, bumped into a contractor who also worked with my grandfather when he was alive. Gave me a tape recording from his answering machine from the late 80's/early 90's of my grandfather calling this contractors office, and forgetting To hang up the phone while the tape was recording,

He orders lunch, orders an extra apple pie, cracks some jokes with his friends and jokingly busted some chops and never realized the phone was still in his hand thinking it was just ringing. I made a copy and gave it to my mother for Xmas. She had no clue. She cried."

patrick_star_xix

9. Nothing like mom's cooking

"My Mom made my brother and I (m) a cookbook of our favorite dishes. That was 25 years ago; it was totally unexpected, but both of us use the books when the mood strikes to recreate childhood favorites Mom used to make. Our cookbooks are prized possessions now, and we both use them regularly. If your son can boil water and you can cook, consider giving this special Christmas gift!"

44greaterthan45

8. Keep your loved ones safe on the road

"My mom gives me a AAA card every year. It's my one of my favorite gifts because it makes me feel safe."

Costner_Facts

I get the young drivers in the family AAA and renew it every year. Its not cool or fun to open but they're soooo thankful when they don't have to pay for a tow truck or lockout. It always pays for itself, plus there's no waste involved.

Count_Von_Rumpford

7. Socks that will last

"Darn Tough Socks."

DeafJeezy

"Nice socks are the best gift. Expensive socks - real wool, a brand name like Tough Socks, SmartWool, or some other 'fancy' socks are an A+ gift.

Hand knitted socks are an A++ gift."

GiraffeFellator

6. Books and booze (or tea, hot chocolate, etc.)

Giphy

"My standard 'You won't tell me what to get you so here's what I settled on' is a book and a bottle of booze of some description. The booze gives me the opportunity to get them something I know they'll like, and the book gives me the opportunity to get them something I think they'll like, and that is personal to them -- especially if I write something on the inner cover that makes it unique."

Portarossa

"An alternative for those who don't drink alcohol is nice hot chocolate mixes, or syrups to mix with soda water for fancy sodas. You can even make your own, too."

the_last_four_words

5. There's no gift like time spent together

"When I was living 10 hours away from my folks (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away), my brothers once flew me home for Christmas to be my mom and dad's Christmas gift. It was the BEST Christmas any of us ever had."

RikiTikiLizi

4. People love when you pay attention to what they say

"Not very personal maybe, but I try to slyly find out if there's something they've been saving up for, and then get them a gift card for the store so they can put it towards whatever they have their eye on. You can do it in a low-key enough way that maybe they don't even realize they mentioned it, and it shows that you pay attention to them/know them well, which is a gift in itself."

PauseAndReflect

3. Who doesn't love a day off?


"A day off.

Especially parents of little kids. Ironically, for "Father's Day", when my kids were babies/toddlers, my wife would take the kids to the kid amusement park and let me chill at home. Sweet sweet silence!"

ClownfishSoup

2. I loved getting this in college

"One of the best things I've gotten were grocery store gift cards. I was just out of college, broke and the peace of mind I got knowing that I had one less expense to worry about for a little while was incredible.

My whole family gave me them, and I was able to eat and actually eat well for a few months while I got my finances in order.

Not really a fun gift, but it was the one I was the most appreciative of for sure!"

ToastyCheeseBees

1. Make it personal

"Something personalised - doesn't have to be a lot

Buy a $2 wine/beer glass etc. (depending on their preference) and get their initials engraved into it for another $5 (you can get this done at most key-cutting places) or a symbol that's relevant for them. Most people are thrilled, and my father still jealously guards 'his' pint glass from a few years ago.

It turns cheap gifts into something that comes across as heartfelt and valuable."

WeLiveInAnOceanOfGas

Do you have a gift that you'd recommend for anyone?

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

There's a million things that can happen to you while out on on the road.

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