I see wish lists created all over the blogosphere (and beyond) with gift ideas for the people in our lives. Though I love looking at all of the ideas and can whittle away a few hours in so doing, I am always struck by the idea that gift-giving should be a bit more personal than that.
In fact, I'm wondering about gift-giving in some scenarios at all. For example, the men in my life don't need and/or want much of anything. Seriously. My husband can't come up with a list of even a few items. My sister's husbands are the same way. Yet, not giving gifts seems a little un-festive. It's odd if the kids and mothers are tearing through paper (or mindfully using one's fingernail to carefully remove said paper) and Dad is sitting in his plaid pajamas (I wish), nursing coffee with a splash of bourbon, warm from the glow of watching his loved-ones in the throws of gift-giving happiness.
I write that tongue-in-cheek, but it may actually be true.
But don't let me get off point; I have a knack for that.
The point here is: if I have to dig around looking for an item someone may want that he/she doesn't know yet he wants, I am beginning to wonder if it's appropriate to give at all?
My now long-winded point is that I may not know what my husband and my sisters' husbands want, but I know what I want.
I'm deeply in-tune with myself that way.
Seriously, though, I love gifts. I wish I could be all cool about it and say I don't love gifts and the warmth of the season is what matters most and I don't need a thing anyway.
All of that is true.
Yet, it remains: I love the whole process of gifts. I love the thinking about it, the going shopping for it, the agonizing over the poignancy of it, the wrapping of the gifts, the waiting to give the gifts and then the actual gift-giving, which leaves me a little nervous the person likes the gift and will find it useful and is happy about it.
I know. I feel for me, too.
I like gift-giving, and I like gift-getting. A lot. The whole thing is just festive and exciting. I seriously get excited when I get a gift, even if that gift is tiny and I could have purchased it for myself just yesterday, at the pharmacy or grocery store, for $5.
Still, I love them.
But...and this is a 'but' I've had to develop over the years, there is that fine line gift-giving rides between festive and gauche. There is a point at which the gifts become overwhelming. I've seen my kids actually get a little wonky on Christmas day, sort of glazed over and exhausted from unwrapping gifts, and we don't even go 'over-board.' At all.
So, I typically like to curate a small list of items I truly want, will use regularly (or use up altogether) and that isn't too utilitarian. Asking for olive oil or something like that takes a bit of the joy out of it.
I've tried, this year, to think of gifts I'd truly love and appreciate, will use daily and will contribute in some positive way to the life I'm intentionally creating. To that end, here are 5 gifts I'd love to receive this year:
Mr. Edward's Wall Clock (Food 52)
The other day, waiting for my daughter at ballet, my son couldn't read the old-school clock on the wall. I mean, he could. But he had to think about it and do some mental math. My daughter was quicker about it but not altogether confident. This family needs a clock in the house for the children to read. Pronto.
Chasing Slow (Amazon)
I have, for years, felt the need to slow down, simplify and become more intentional about my life - all of it. Parenting. Writing. Housekeeping. Friendships. Eating.
I also love little inspirational reads. I keep them by the bath or bed. I've read several over the years, and I always get a little tip, tidbit or idea that I'm able to apply to daily life.
I'm not sure I need to say anything. Anyone not listening to Chris Stapleton these days?
Jasmine & Neroli Face Oil (Nordstrom)
My face is so dry it flakes, daily. I don't know if I'm not getting enough hydration or if I'm just getting older, but I wake up feeling like a Sunday morning in Phoenix, mid-July. I've heard great things about face oils but never tried one. This oil is famous for getting the face-oil crazy going, and though it's expensive, I love that it's been around for a while and gets raves reviews. I'm game for anything that will help me lock in some moisture.
Zella Live-In High Waisted Leggings (Nordstrom)
I wear this brand's leggings almost daily. Seriously. They hold up like no other brand I've tried (admittedly I haven't tried LuLu Lemon). I've actually heard Zella is made in the same factory as LuLu Lemon and is just sold as Nordstrom's house brand, but I have no official verification of that. Anyway, they're workhorses, these leggings. No pilling. No see-through until I've worn them for about 5 years. I have a pair I've worn at least 200x per year for 8 years now. They do need to be replaced, but I got a good 6 years out of them before they started to show their age.
I wear them to workout, to run errands, to go out to dinner. I know that sounds crazy. Who goes out to dinner in leggings? But I find that I can pair them with ballet flat or boots, and if I wear a long cardigan and black fitted t-shirt, I like to think I'm channeling a certain level of relaxed sophistication. My only rule is to wear a sweater or shirt long enough to cover the bum.
And yes, my kids roll their eyes when I use the word 'bum.'
I don't want a minimal Christmas, per se. I am definitely working toward that, but with kids, that's a huge challenge. It's not a worthless challenge, but this year, I'd like to simply focus on being intentional with this holiday. I want to be intentional with my time, with my gift-giving and with what I ask for to be wrapped under the tree. I do believe "stuff" can bring us joy and happiness, but I think the key is choosing wisely, intentionally and with a long-term perspective. Stuff should enhance our lives rather than clutter it up.
So....what does everyone else want? Are people doing gifts? Or are people sick-to-death of gifts and want to just haul stuff to charity organizations and have a cocktail?
I'll do that in January. :)