Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Annual gift list

I did one of these last year so heck, here's another one. Most of the stuff I suggested then still stands, here are a few additions I thought of:

1. A crock-pot, if the person doesn't have one. My crock-pot is my favorite small kitchen appliance: I use it all the time. It's great for busy people as you can often load it up in the morning or at lunch time (if you are lucky enough to go home for lunch) and have dinner ready when you get home. It's best for sauced dishes or things that cook well "low and slow" (I have made Carne Machaca in it using chuck roast with good success: often cheap cuts of meat are actually better in it).

2. A knife block or one of those magnetized things to hold knives in the kitchen. I have a magnet strip up next to my stove and it's great.

3. New pajamas. People can always use them (provided they are someone who wears pajamas, but if it's a family member, you probably know that already, and if it isn't a close family member or close friend, why are you giving them pajamas?)

4. Nice food of whatever kind your recipient likes. For me, that would be good tea. Or fancy preserves. Or small mixes for things like scones. Or even things like smoked fish that was in some kind of shelf-stable packaging. For one thing: it gets used up so it's not hanging around, for another, it can be a "luxury" item - even someone like me who generally doesn't skimp on "healthful" food appreciates something a little special or fancy.

Even some grocery-store stuff is good: I find the Kroger's "Private Selection" preserves to be generally excellent and they are in nice-enough packaging.

Of course, if you make preserves/spice blends/cookies/mixes/whatever, that's a good gift too. 

5. Books, if you know it's one they don't already have and if they are a "book person." I know I would be thrilled by some of the vintage mysteries I don't already have, or a new knitting book (or a vintage knitting book from a used-book store: some of those are pretty fun too).

6. Again, if you know their interest - craft supplies. These are also great kid-gifts if you get age-appropriate ones. Or new crayons/colored pencils/markers depending on age an interest. (With markers: make sure they're the washable kind unless the kid is fairly mature). Even better: supplies for a craft they want to learn, and a promise from someone who can teach them to provide lessons.

7. A sweatshirt. Especially if you can find one with an attractive design on it, or that maybe is somehow local-to-you. (I would wear a university's sweatshirt - I mean, another university other than one I attended - if someone I cared about was there)

8. A smallish fleece blanket. I can never seem to have enough of these; I have a big one on my bed and a smaller one to put across my feet if it's extra cold, and I have one in the living room on the back of the sofa and I have even, at times, kept an old one in the car in winter in case of being stranded somewhere. Or a travel-sized one, if the person travels a lot.

9. Good soap, or fancy Epsom salts, or hand cream - again, you have to know the person well; some people are insulted by a gift of soap (the implication being taken: that they don't use it enough already). I love fancy Epsom salts myself. (You also need to take allergies into account here, sometimes, though). I do never seem to use hand cream - I'm usually too busy and working on something I don't want to get messy.

10. A small step-stool, if the person is (like me) a bit on the short side and living in a house with tall things that need to be reached (upper cabinets, ceiling lights, and when I change my furnace filters I have to stand on a step-stool).

11. Something funny and silly. A small toy of some kind, either something that is a nice desk-fidget thing (like a little construction toy) or something nostalgic for the person. Again, you'd have to be sure of interest, because there are some people who would look askance at getting a small Lego kit or a vintage Strawberry Shortcake doll - but then again, people like me would be thrilled. (And Etsy is a great place to go for vintage toys, I've found - probably more reasonable than eBay). Or a stuffed animal, even if just to be used as a sofa pillow. For me, Christmas is always more fun if I do get some kind of little toy or game.

12. For family members: If you have good photographs of loved-ones that relatives don't have, have copies made. Maybe even frame some of them or put them in an album. I treasure the different photographs I have up - some of them of relatives (great-grandparents) I never know. On both sides of my family apparently there were avid photographers (my grandfather on my dad's side, and someone in my mother's family, I don't know who) so I am lucky to have a number of photographs of people. Or, shoot, even for friends: if you have photos of fun times you passed together that they don't have, framed copies of those might be nice.

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