I just saw a very interesting play version of a Christmas Carol -- cast of only 5 and really entertaining. Since it is really, really close to Christmas I thought a blog about either carols (yeah they may be a little cheesy but come on they still get us in the spirit -- unless you are in retail and listen to them on a loop for hours ... I have a few favorites and 2 even make this girl get chills) or gifts. I consulted my blogging friend and she gave me a great idea to write about gifts that I loved, that I loved giving and the "unfortunate kind".
So at the stroke of this keyboard first we will visit the ghost of gifts from the past. Travelling back to a long time ago when I was about 7 and my parents were in Austria, immigration camp trying to get to the States, and I in Romania. Needless to say that my gift list was really only to be with them, my mother was a mess about leaving me but at Christmas according to her and my father well she inconsolable. However, they had jobs while there (you know those Austrians it's not all Hills are Alive all the time - productive people) so they sent gifts back to me. Among them was Milka (a purple papered chocolate bar that was about 2 feet long) I savored every single square, still among my favorites when I am in Europe. The other gifts from family were meager in a Communist country but they were there. I did not love the chocolate enough to not miss my parents of course but I did love them for sending it to me. We leave this place to my first few Christmases in the US. My parents came with nothing, that is literal not metaphorical, to no one here but they did have a belief in opportunities. I remember a bicycle (a lovely, banana seat yellow one - this goes among the "unfortunate kind" -- why you ask ? well because I apparently cannot ride a bicycle, I crashed, tumbled on my own feet and to this do not even attempt the stationary ones at the gym - a PT person I met once told me it is not that uncommon and that now I would have gotten some therapy for it - therapy for a gift = unfortunate kind still). My parents worked hard for the dolls, loved GI Joe, and the gifts and I had my parents. As we leave that happy scene I go to the land of 19 years -- there is me all happy and big haired with my boyfriend at the time and an ankle bracelet. Now if you are not from a NYC borough this may not mean a thing. However, it was a BIG deal - you did not wear on ankle but on a chain around your neck, it had 2 "wings" of gold that your names and anniversary went on and in the middle there were little diamonds around a heart. Thinking it is the 80s version of the "pin" that boys gave girls in the 50s. That goes into gifts I loved - ok cause I loved the boy too. Both are gone.
Here we are in the present and gifts from my boys bought with their allowance money totally make the I LOVED IT best list. They are well thought out and they take great pride in making sure they pick, pay and get them wrapped themselves. There is the Tiffany catalog that I leave little (ok not little big circles) around you know to help their father in his quest. Christmas present is also about how much I love to buy presents for people. I just love it. I put a lot of thought into gifts, and yes I do some gift cards, but I like to see the person light up as they look up and see that somewhere, sometime during our conversations they mentioned something and here it is. I like to shop in all sorts of stores and find unique gifts. It is also a time where through my company and on my own I try and buy a few things for kids in need. Their letters make me cry because they just want to smile and get a sparkly something in a life filled where basic needs are often not met. That makes my BEST GIFTS EVER list - the joy from giving to others and seeing them get happiness.
Here you are last ghost - dressed to the nines and no gloomy, scary ghost for this girl. It is the future and I was just flown in my car (cause yes I believe the movies) to my sons apartment. There they are in college themselves now, grown and my babies at the same time. Look at them they are sharing a place to save some money, they have nice girlfriends who appreciate the fashion forward funny and fun Mom the boys have (the perks of being the author is you get to make up the story) and they are enjoying their lives and their youth. My gift a small box from Tiffany's which they chipped in to buy -- and whatever is in there makes me laugh and smile.
I love gifts - giving and getting. My worst gift ever still is a needlepoint purse with an farm picture that I would have had to needlepoint in myself (ummm it was not the gift per se that annoyed me it was the fact that really you must have never met me to buy me that or you found it while blinded by mysterious illness). My best present ever - ones that meant something to me and said you actually know how much I like (insert thing here). My favorite gift that I ever gave - the toys to the children in need and the thank you letters I received. Christmas is a great time and gifts - come on who doesn't really want a gift. So this season buy with love, buy because you want to show the person they are important enough for you to have thought through and found something that is special to them and enjoy the gifts that were well intention-ed for even a needlepoint bag brought you a smile and laugh.
Oh and speaking of gifts if you can buy local as well big box store, buy brick and mortar and online, buy from those businesses you choose to support and not from those who you do not and buy from the heart. If you need a 2 independent businesses there is always Hampton Paper Designs (those calendars are gifts that are much loved) and Nelly Rose Designs (hand-knitted and unique).
Off to finish those last few things on my list --- sometimes naughty gets you an even bigger present with me.