When I was younger, I'd usually written at least three separate drafts of my letter to Santa by the time Thanksgiving dinner rolled around, none of which contained any requests for articles of clothing.
During that meal a couple weeks ago, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
Unable to provide them with an immediate answer, I started thinking about how long it had been since I'd bought a new pair of socks.
A few minutes later, I received a phone call informing me my inner child had finally passed away after approximately 22 years filled with exponentially diminishing amounts of wonderment.
There aren't a ton of positives to realizing you've officially exhausted your lifetime supply of joy and innocence, but I did realize there is an unintended upside to asking your parents for practical gifts: They'll think you're more mature than you probably are.
You might spend hours awake each night counting down the seconds until the day you get kicked off your parent's health insurance plan, but they'll be totally blind to your inability to adjust to adult life if you tell them you want something only a true adult could appreciate.
Here are a few suggestions.
A kitchen gadget that implies you care about your health
Perfect for: Anyone who still hasn't opened up the pan set they got for Christmas last year.
If you're trying to convince your parents you can take care of yourself, you don't want them to discover the most work you've put into a meal in the past few months was having to dig out your laptop because you couldn't get the Seamless app to work on your phone.
You might still be scared to use the frying pan they got you last year as a passive aggressive hint you should cook more, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't find some kitchenware that may actually be useful.
It's simple: Just pick an item that implies you've started to care about eating well. I'd suggest either a slow cooker or one of those magic devices that turns vegetables into noodles -- only a true adult would waste a gift on something so practical.
An overpriced bottle of alcohol
Perfect for: People who forgot to get rid of the multiple empty plastic handles perched atop the recycling bin the last time their parents came to Christmas.
I learned a very important lesson around the time of my 21st birthday: The only time you're allowed to compile a list of all of the alcohol you'd like to receive as a gift without people asking how much you really drink is when you're putting together your wedding registry.
However, I've since learned while it may not be acceptable to ask for four $20 bottles of various spirits, asking for an $80 bottle of whiskey somehow makes you appear classy and sophisticated.
You should start looking up vintage wines you'd normally feel guilty buying and take advantage of this unexplained phenomenon before people start to catch on.
Perfect for: Someone who wants to cover up the rings that were already on their table when they picked it off the street.
Coasters are the kind of gift you ask for when a new pair of socks seems too adventurous.
Because of this, there's probably no better way to convince your parents you're finally a grown up than having them spend more money on coasters than the $10 IKEA end table they're going to end up protecting.
A subscription to The New Yorker
Perfect for: People who currently have a copy of Maxim or Cosmopolitan on a table in their apartment.
I'm not trying to pick on any of the magazines mentioned above (I actually am, but let's not dwell on that) but, in my opinion, one of the best investments you can make every year is subscribing to a magazine that's associated with smart people.
I use The New Yorker as an example because it's basically the NPR of periodicals, but feel free to go with something like the London Review of Books or Harper's (NOT HARPER'S BAZAAR) based on what pages feel most comfortable when you're absentmindedly skimming them.
Just remember how many witty cartoons you'll be missing out on.