Monday, December 3, 2012

Tis the Season to Do What?

Sorry I've been absent for the past week. It was my week to blog on my group blog and I couldn't do both.
But now I'm back and I'm going to be blogging all this month with interesting Christmas related snippets, tied in to my new book THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. So stay tuned for fascinating facts such as the true meaning of the twelve days.

But today I'm a little perplexed. I've just asked everyone what they want for Christmas. One wants a gift certificate to Target, one a gift certificate to a bike shop, one just a gift certificate to Amazon. What happened to gift giving? If I give you a gift certificate and you give me one, why not just not give and buy ourselves a present instead?

When I was younger it was the giving of the gift that was important (at least that is what we were told when we opened Great Aunt Trudy's bright orange hand knitted sweater with the ducks on it). The fact that someone had had serious thoughts about what might make me happy and taken the trouble to find it in a store. Of course the gifts weren't always exactly what we wanted, but did didn't do a mad rush to return them eithre.

Today everything has to be so perfect that people are afraid to give and would rather take the risk out of failure with a gift certificate or even cash. Well, my philosophy is that Santa doesn't carry cash. I'm choosing you a gift. Be grateful.

I remember one Christmas my family decided that the holiday had become too commercial and we'd do homemade gifts for each other. It was fun. I liked it. The results were differing--one made lovely velvet throw pillows that I still use after 20 years. One made great fleece scarves and caps that are still being used. My son in law made wooden toys. My son the actor read CDs of fairytales for his nieces and nephews. Over the years I've tried to personalize presents--last year I made books of family history for each kid. A DVD of ancestors. And to me those are the gifts that are truly precious.

I wish we could do this again, although it is a little stressful trying to get gifts done in time. But I love it. How about you? Any suggestions for homemade gifts?.


  1. I have been making more baking gifts. Cookies that I have seen my friends devour when I have made them previously. Cinnamon bread for a friend who loves to use it for french toast.

  2. I love making gifts. I make cookies and other foods (this year I'm thinking about coffee syrups), and handmade (sewing machine, at least) gifts, as well as store-bought. I try to remember that a gift is equally about the giver as the receiver... and if I don't want to give a gift certificate, I don't have to(although, this year I did ask my family to feed my Kindle)!

  3. I try to do homemade gifts, but I'm deadline challenged (have always been!) and don't start early enough. I do have pillowcases upstairs that didn't get finished for previous Christmases, maybe this year! I love the idea of velvet throw pillows. Have started a pair of fingerless gloves, but I like them so much I might keep them. . . oops!

  4. NPR just had an article yesterday that this seems to be the season of the "me gift" - either directly buying for oneself, or indirectly doing so (buy one item, get another at discount for yourself). It's a marketing strategy this year, and is succeeding (so the article says) as we grow more disconnected by distance or busyness so can't choose a "thoughtful" gift. The gift card is one more exemplar of the conflict between our desire to please and our lack of connection / communication.

  5. Our son is 13 and all he wants is money toward the laptop for which has has been saving for over a year. No new bike, skis, sled??? As a surprise, we are going to order the laptop, but not tell him. Then, after he opens all the money (from us, grand parents, aunts, etc.), he will open a note that says he has one more present that he can exchange for his Christmas money plus his saved money....

  6. I like the idea of personal gifts, too, rather than gift certificates. It really is the personal touch and the thoughtfulness that means so much.

  7. What do you do when the gift you want costs more than is reasonable for the giver to pay? I want furniture, but nobody will pay for it. A gift card helps me reach my goal.

    This year, I can't think of many "things" that I want. I am asking for gift cards to fast food restaurants near work, to a book store, and to a frame shop. I do needlework, and framing, with acid-free mats and museum glass, is expensiiiiiiive. Every little bit helps.

    Other years I have asked for specific items, and gotten them. This year, give me a gift card.

  8. Sorry I missed you at Third Place in Seattle. Hubby was sick. I WAS SO LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU AS I HAVE READ MANY OF YOUR BOOKS!!!!!

    Elizabeth Huse