Christmas gift ideas?

by DaniGirl on December 7, 2005 · 12 comments

in Uncategorized

Lest I trip over that fine line between good clean fun and celebrity Internet stalking (too late?) maybe we should talk about something else for a while.

I’ve got about half my Christmas shopping done. The good half. The “oh, what a great idea, it’s the absolute perfect gift for so-and-so, I can hardly wait to see his/her face!” Now comes the agonizing, clock-ticking, “I’ve got no friggin’ clue what to get for so-and-so and so I’ll just keep throwing money at it until I feel better about my choices” part of the shopping.

I know I make it hard on myself. I take my Christmas gift-giving very seriously. Each gift is carefully chosen based on an offhand remark from some time in the past 360 days, or a known favourite theme, or by divination, ESP and intuition. Gifts are balanced so that everybody gets a more or less proportionally appropriate gift value. I rarely give a gift I wouldn’t like to receive. In short, I drive myself CRAZY every year over Christmas shopping.

This is almost entirely my mother’s fault. (Sorry, Mom.) She has a knack for the perfect gift, and I have learned a lot from her. Mostly about excess, but also about how gift giving really is a covenant between two people. It’s an acknowledgement of how that person has touched your life, made a difference, been a friend. And because my friends and family are, for the most part, on the eccentric side, I find that my taste in gifts runs largely to the quirky and unique.

I like personalized gifts. We make a photo calendar each year, and have given photo mouse pads, coffee mugs and jigsaw puzzles. The boys are *almost* at an age where we can start substituting my handcrafted gifts for theirs (just in the nick of time, too – what’s cute from a four year old is a little odd from a thirty-something woman, and I’m running out of macaroni and glitter.)

I need ideas! What is the best gift you ever got? What is your favourite gift to give?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SilverCreek Mom December 7, 2005 at 1:42 pm

TO give….I try to personalized like you and I drive myself nutty too. Although I find that giving Christmas Decorations or Ordiments seem to go over best. Although that too can drive to to distraction casue I want something ORIGINAL! LOL!
the Best gift I ever got was my kids and I’m not giving them away…although there are days. 😉
Nothing really stands out I may have tothik awhile and get back to you. Although when I was 13 it was the plastic stero my Mom and dad got me. I soo wanted it. I still have it in the attic somewhere.

2 Sugarmama December 7, 2005 at 3:05 pm

My favorite gift to give? Every year I give my stepfather an ice cream sundae “kit.” I make homemade caramel and fudge sauces (super easy, one pot affairs), plus some toffee chopped up into bits and maybe a batch of brownies. I’ve also in years past included a couple of actual sundae dishes, gift certificates to Goodberry’s so he can buy his favorite frozen custard, jars of brandied cherries, and even a batch of homemade ice cream. It’s nice because he’s always excited to get it, being the chubby ice cream nut he is, and I always know what to get him.

3 Marla December 7, 2005 at 3:19 pm

I had a snappy remark, but Sugarmama’s ice cream kit has me on the floor in a writhing puddle of need and want.

4 Renee December 7, 2005 at 3:28 pm

Well, don’t put TOO much thought into my gift, Dani. I’m not real picky!

5 Marla December 7, 2005 at 3:30 pm

I’m back.
The best gifts I ever receive are newer and better versions of things I already love. I adored my wallet, in black nylon with leopard print interior for years. It was the perfect size with the right number of compartments and I could find things in it without even looking. The thought of having to find a new one and having to get used to it was awful. So, when a red croc-printed vinyl one in the exact same size and shape showed up last year, I was so happy because A) Someone was paying attention B) I obviously already liked it C) It was also the gift of years of peace of mind. So I say, does someone like nice pens? Get good ones at an art supply store with nice grips, good flow and good weight. Does someone like a certain black wool sweater? Find the same thing in cashmere! (Um, just using myself as an example here.)
My favourite gift to give is cards. Interesting blank cards, either vintage cards, ones made from vintage things or new ones from neat graphic designers. It is so wonderful to have a supply of cards around the house for a quick thank you, get well or whatever – at the stores they now run $3-5 each, and it’s no fun to stand in the aisle and dither. So sometimes I make card bundles – blank cards from an art supply store, photo corners and pictures I’ve collected, plus a couple of boxed sets I’ve found on sale. They can be tailored to the recipient’s personality, so it stays thoughtful.

6 Stacey December 7, 2005 at 4:58 pm

When I read your blog entry, my immediate thought was to regail stories of how much difficulty I have every year picking the best gift too. But then, I thought, why not offer a solution instead?
I’ve just started up my own art company. As Dani knows, I have a penchant for flowers, and that’s the theme of my company. I have professional photographs of some of my flower arrangements (price $25 to $60), I’ve made magnets out of realistic looking flowers ($2 to $5 each), I’ve got really nice pointsetta ornaments and magnets ($2 each), I’ve made some really interesting glass candle holders and vases ($6 to $20 per set) and finally, I’ve made some really original Christmas gift bags using artificial pointsettas and holly beads ($5 each). So here’s my offer…I’d be very happy to do a private showing for you and your friends at no cost to you. My art is VERY reasonably priced and very unique. Dani, please feel free to email me at work or home and let me know what you think.

7 Running2Ks December 8, 2005 at 3:12 am

When I was a kid, rollerskates were the best gift ever–because my mom let us skate in the house.
I love to give decor items to people with whom I am close–especially people who don’t want to spend money on themselves, but I know really want some items.

8 Mommy-Abroad December 8, 2005 at 12:14 pm

I like the card idea…stationary is always nice to get. Chocolate, I mean good chocolate is always welcome. I love getting homemade goodies. When I was teaching in Canada one family used to always give their child’s teacher a homemade lemon poppy seed cake, of a coffee cake or a banana loaf…all the other teachers were always jealous.
Last year hubby got me some really cool biking glasses that baby tossed in the garbage during the summer…they are gone but they were a great gift. CD’s, DVD’s tech stuff and games?
And as a finisher a nice bottle of wine is always appreciated.

9 nancy December 8, 2005 at 1:51 pm

Well, this year my DH is getting a new drill which he asked for when he saw it on sale 50% off on October – it is still hiding under the bed. I asked for a blender, will be specific about which model I want and receive it. Our coffee maker broke last week so my dad offered to replace it as our Christmas gift, readily accepted.
I am lame.
BUT Dani – had I been shopping for you, I’ve seen about a dozen PERFECT items for you.

10 nancy December 8, 2005 at 1:53 pm

Last night DH & I decided what to give my father. I will share but hope no one here reads this and tells him. It is very extravagant.
He is a war buff. He has always wanted to see the beaches at Normandy – always. We are cashing in DH’s frequent flyer miles (he has more than enough) and giving him an airline ticket to finally meet his dream. I can’t wait to give it to him, I think I’ll cry.

11 Danigirl December 8, 2005 at 2:49 pm

Oh Nancy – what a wonderful, thoughtful gift. I’m choked up just thinking about it…
You rock!!
Thanks to all for great suggestions.
xo Dani

12 yvonne December 8, 2005 at 5:49 pm

The do-it-yourself pottery place on Richmond Road is perfect for kids to make cute, usable gifts. My guys did footprints on platters for grandparents before they were even old enough to know. The kids that is…

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