Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A silly list

I did give my mom and dad a Christmas list when I was up there. Mostly practical stuff (some clothes, some from Duluth Trading - their stuff seems well-made and there were a couple of cute tops in the latest women's catalog, some from Northstyle (I really hope I get the skirt I marked in there; I probably should have noted a priority on things). A few books. Some oddball things like a small hot water bottle with a felt cover (even as I use the buckwheat bags a lot - hot water bottles do seem to hold heat longer) and a pound of maple sugar (for on my morning oatmeal).

But I also have silly things I would like but haven't listed, either because they're too expensive for me to feel comfortable asking* for or they seem silly to me. But I'll list them here, just for funsies - most of these are too expensive for anyone to get me anyway, and I'd be too frugal to buy them for myself.

(*though my brother doesn't seem to have qualms asking for expensive but impractical things. Perhaps as an oldest child I care more about what my parents think of me?)

1. A great big giant plush Totoro (see the price on that? Never gonna get one, not at that price, I wouldn't even buy it myself).

2. Enough Noro Silk Garden in a pretty colorway (I am not sure which one) for a pullover for me. This might actually happen, especially if I get a Webs gift card (the most "impractical" thing I think I asked for). Webs has it, and it's not a terrible price from them. I dunno. I just like Noro even if most colorways have that one funky ugly "black sheep" color in them, and it tends to be thick-and-thin in places, and sometimes there are knots in the skeins....

3. Some of the books from Folio Society's Christmas collection (The 101 Dalmations! I want a copy of that...) That might still happen, too, especially if my thought today - when making a deposit at the bank and looking at my balance - that mmmmmaybe I forgot to add in a pay period, and I'm not as broke as I think. But my record-keeping this fall has really been pants, so I'm waiting for the December statement to arrive to be sure. (I could just order them and take money out of savings if needed to cover the cost, but....I don't want to that because Savings Is For Emergencies and wanting books is not a real emergency).

4. A nice new pair of clunky mary-jane type shoes (brown) to wear with my socks. I really loved the Klogs pair I had, but I think they quit making them. I may have to hunt around Zappos after Christmas if I feel flush enough to afford these. (Again: shoes are a big expense and maybe more than I want to ask for, and also, I am picky)

5. A fleece blanket with one of the cartoon characters I love - either the Ponies, or the three We Bare Bears, or some other cute thing (even just a generic unicorn). I do have some Pony fleece tucked away that I could get out and (if I can find it) sew on the blanket binding I bought at the same time, so this could happen. (But it's sometimes nice just to get something pre-made.) I have a lot of fleece blankets but they are just nice to have, especially the smaller ones - to throw over your legs on a cold evening when you're reading, or to wrap around your shoulders in bed if you're cold and sad....

6. Pony playsets. No, this won't happen - I have no room to display them and yes, it is the height of silliness, but I admit I like the idea of the Canterlot Castle and other types of things. I had a few "playset" type things (mostly Fisher Price) as a kid, and I loved them. (Though I also recognize that as an adult, I'd not remember how to play with them; they'd mostly wind up as a display item).

Or the Moominhouse. I still kind of want one of those, but the shipping from the Moomin shop in Finland is atrocious, so I won't order one.

Or something like this, but not necessarily for the Calico Critters - but to give Wilbur (my felt tardigrade) a bigger and nicer house to live in.

(I loved dollhouses as a kid. Still kind of like them as an adult, even if I have no real space for one and no time to work on it.)

7. To commission someone like LeekFish to do more drawings for me, that I could frame and put up in my bedroom to cheer me.

8. Wall shelves, and help in installing them properly, so I can arrange my Monster High dolls and Ponies properly.

9. A real dream, but: the money, the time, and the space (the last being most important, really) to get a longarm quilting machine and learn how to use it. I don't have space for one and renting a studio space (or having space added on to my house) is not a possibility but I do want one. (And I still imagine I might find a way to work it in retirement - it would make a nice retirement thing to do, to either do quilts for people at cost/for a little pay or just do quilts for charities)

10. A case-lot (all the blind boxes) of Re-Ment's Modern Girl line (a set of 1920s themed miniatures). Or a bunch of other Re-Ment things. Or just a big, big box full of different blindbox type toys that I can gradually open and ooh and aah over the little surprises.


I always think, when I think about Christmas presents, about the "Little House" books and how simple the gifts the girls received were - the excitement, for example, over each getting their own tin drinking cup so they no longer had to share, and that Charlotte the rag doll was the big present of Laura's young life.

I also noticed - I watched much of Freeform's re-run of the Harry Potter movies this weekend - that the simple delight Harry took in getting presents "for the first time in his life" (in the first movie, when he and Ron are pretty much alone at Hogwarts over Christmas, but still have a happy time of it) - they enjoy wizard candies, and Harry is excited over the slightly amateurish sweater Ron's mum made for him, and of course he's excited to inherit the Invisibility Cloak. But the presents seem simpler, somehow, than much of what seems to be expected in modern American society.

And of course, it used to be different: my father is old enough to remember it being exciting to get an orange in your stocking. And the things I read about in the reprints of "The Farmer's Wife" (there is a nice collected volume of the Christmas numbers called "Christmas on the Farm") seems to suggest gifts were once less expensive and more practical (and fewer) than now.

And I admit, I'd like to go back to that in general. I do try to ask for practical things (well, clothes are good, because I hate clothes-shopping, usually, and it's nice not to have to track stuff down myself) but also....one or two small fun things are nice. But also: nice food is nice (hence the maple sugar). And books are always nice; I think anyone who likes to read should get at least one book for Christmas. And craft supplies are nice, and even though I didn't ask for any, I wouldn't turn up my nose at some kind of simple kit, especially for something (like bead-looming) I'd never done before.

But yeah. I find myself put off by the idea of buying big and impressive and expensive gifts - some of which might be less personal to the person (or maybe I'm just someone with simpler tastes than many). I think the idea of "impress your neighbors by buying an expensive new car" is kind of offensive, and I think the idea of trying to buy someone's love with a gift that takes more money than thought is also a little offensive. 

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