Christmas is fast approaching! I am one of the types of people that gets excited to see Christmas trees going up in stores on November 1st (or earlier), rather than the type of person who gets irate and cranky-pants over the whole situation. And each year, I proclaim this year to be the year it's not about presents, and more about presence -- spending time with each other, enjoying the company of family and friends, and the abundance of food and camaraderie.
While that's a nice sentiment and all, it never really pans out to skip the gift-giving altogether. Let's face it: Christmas is about commerce. There is some satisfaction in giving (and receiving!) so I should give up on that notion of no-gifts-Christmas and just accept it for what it's worth! (Lots and lots of money, that's what it's worth.)
So, in anticipation of Christmas shopping for loved ones, I am trying to reflect on gifts of past Christmases to try to determine the anatomy of a great gift. Here are my top three gifts I have received in recent years.
I simply asked for slippers, and my sister surprised me when she gifted me with Ugg brand slippers. This was several years ago - maybe four or five? - and we're still going strong, me and my Uggs. Some people have their comfy jeans, worn in just right? I, uh, I have my slippers.
Yes, it's true. I got a Neti Pot for Christmas one year. In fact, this was a gift I half-jokingly asked for from my boyfriend (now husband). This was the first Christmas that we were a couple. Not including one of our first dates which happened to be my extended family's Christmas party that my parents were hosting at their house. True story. No, that's not fast/forward/awkward to ask a guy you've hardly gone out with twice to come to your family Christmas party, not at all... I digress... (Hey, we're married with two kids now, so, it all worked out just fine, thank you...)
So I asked my boyfriend for a Neti Pot because I have issues with my sinuses. Perhaps some young twenty-somethings exchange sexier gifts, it's entirely possible. ("No, Lindsay, it's entirely certain!" you're thinking.) But think of how many sinus infections I have staved off with that thing! It's the gift that keeps on giving! Still use that thing to this very day. It may be one of my favorite bathroom accessories I use.
My MIL gifted me with this kitchen gadget last year. Also known as a 'stick blender', for those none-the-wiser. See, I love to make soups. (Gee, do I sound like an old bitty or what?) Lots of times, soups call for blending in a blender in batches. I am nothing if not a horribly messy cook, using no less than 50% MORE cooking/baking/kitchen tools/gadgets/utensils than necessary. And I am not one of these people who CLEANS UP AS SHE GOES, much to the dismay of my neat-freak husband. Using a blender to blend soups takes up about 3 or 4 more items that require washing (often by hand). An immersion blender only takes the 1 item (the blender itself), so this is a WIN as I loathe washing dishes.
So what is it that makes these gifts so awesome? For the slippers, it was a case of QUALITY. Don't skimp on gifts. Let's say you decide to spend $75 on someone. Rather than get three $25 gifts, buy one $75 gift, with the caveat that it's a high-quality item, not an inexpensive item you get for a steal. For example, $75 slippers (high-quality item, as slippers don't typically cost that much) vs. diamond necklace (precious jewelry shouldn't be that cheap, it must be poor quality).
For the Neti Pot, it was a case of getting someone something they WANT, even if you can't appreciate it. I asked for this sort of as a joke, but deep down I really wanted it. (Yes, I know these are, like, $12.99 and I could have purchased one for myself at any point in time...) Nick was like "WTF" but he got it for me anyway. And for the record, HE still uses it to this day, as well.
And lastly, the blender was one of those PRACTICAL gifts that, while not necessarily a luxury item, is something I use and love dearly on a regular basis, as it makes my life easier, and who doesn't love that? I mean? Priceless.
So... it's easy to come up with a list of items that fit the bill for yourself. But finding items like these for other people, that's where it's a challenge. Better put on my thinking cap, and get the credit cards out!
'TIS THE SEASON!
I know it's early but you're lying if you say you haven't thought about something you want Santa to bring you. Indulge me, and tell me what it is you want. : )