Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gifts - Part 2 of Many

So, the list of gift suggestions from the other day left you either with a whetted appetite for more suggestions, numb because you are simply not ready for the Herculean task of shopping for everyone on your list, or unimpressed because that was just "the tip of the iceberg". I promised more ideas so today I'm delivering. It is vital to me to get the majority of my holiday shopping finished before Thanksgiving because I do not like to shop among the throngs who wait until after that time. Everyone feels differently about when to shop, I'm just offering suggestions now; it's up to you when you want to get the job done.
One of my number one rules is to steer clear of gag gifts, the gift that is supposed to be uproariously hilarious, but is typically a waste of money and falls short of the intended joke. Unless you know the recipient will truly appreciate this gesture, I recommend sticking to thoughtful and more traditional gifts. Classic gifts are universally welcomed and thus seem much more budget-friendly. The gifts I always gravitate toward for children include dolls, baby or Barbie, Legos, or Matchbox cars. These tried and true names rarely displease, are made with superior quality, have offerings in all price ranges to fit most budgets, and, unlike other toy names, have definite staying power in the marketplace. Other classic toys would include Slinky, Lincoln Logs, Bristle Blocks, Play-Doh, Hot Wheels, Mickey Mouse, Thomas the Train, and Madame Alexander dolls. Modern classics include the Melissa & Doug brand name of puzzles and unique wooden toys and just about anything Harry Potter!
For teens it is best to remember they prefer the independence of choosing their own style, so stay away from clothes as gifts unless they have picked out their own outfits or dropped major hints. They may enjoy, however, a designer accessory, say a scarf, handbag, or wallet with the designer name that is popular with them (not adults).
Classic board games are another super way to gift to a person or a family. So much time is spent on video games, either on the television or handheld, that true face-to-face gaming is all but forgotten. Bring it back! Monopoly, Clue, Battleship, Life, Risk, Stratego, Scrabble, and Othello are wonderful games for adults or families. For young children games like Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Match games are winners. Other wonderful games are Backgammon, Checkers, and Chess. As a card player and specifically a bridge player I'd also selfishly recommend gifting a dual deck of cards with a "How-to" book for games like Hearts and Bridge. Card games can provide hours of fun at a very low cost. And not all card games need start with the word "poker".
Books, actual and audiobooks, are fantastic gifts. Children are usually off from school during the Christmas break and reading is a perfect way to spend time. From Little Golden books to Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, from teen romances to Harry Potter tomes, and from the endless titles out there for adults who adore fiction or true stories, books are a superior gift choice. I always have a few books on my Christmas list and I always gift books to my recipients!
Most adults would probably enjoy, depending on the climate in which they live, a warm scarf (cashmere, merino wool, acryllic) in fashionable colors, or a great pair of gloves. Socks, although seemingly mundane, are a fantastic gift for adults because they wear out! Giving gifts that are usable and get used up is a great way to go! Wallets are also lovely gifts for adults as well, as long as you know the type they prefer; men choose between bi- or tri- folds, ladies have unlimited choices in size, lengths, and styles.  Picture frames make great gifts, especially if the recipient has children/grandchildren. Dish towels are another terrific idea as, like socks, they wear out. Choose ones that actually dry dishes! Another brilliant idea is assembling your own gift basket for a friend or family. Buying items in bulk, whether at your warehouse store, local grocers, or discount store, allows for breaking up the items and redistributing them to several people. If you are creative you choose a vessel - basket, colander, hamper/laundry basket, etc. - fill it with consumables - food, cleaning products, etc. - and present it to your recipient with a wow! Most stores charge a premium for 'gift baskets', but the simple truth is, it is reasonable to assemble these yourself using everyday items, even specialty pieces, if you do a little leg work. Interested in more gift basket ideas, just ask. I've made several in my time and would love to share my ideas in future blogs.
These suggestions should help equip you with more ideas as you set out to tackle your list. In future blogs I'll tackle the subjects of teacher gifts as I was a teacher for a decade and have some serious input to offer. I'll also dedicate one blog to my all-time favorite category of stocking stuffers.
Please join me tomorrow as we get back to our "normal programming" and examine a new Friday Music Blog topic. Until then, happy gift gathering!


  1. Bridge? Really? No one in our generation plays this game. Pretty soon we'll be the World Bridge Champions because no one will be left to challenge us.

    Great gift ideas, Chief. Thanks.

  2. You can't go wrong with Lego I was round a friends recently and her child was playing with 60's era lego bricks I recognised from my own childhood, happy as a lark he was :-) You can make lovely bridges using Lego to.

  3. You share a lot of great ideas!

    In recent years, I have found gifting more difficult. There is so much instant gratification these days. Rarely do I know anyone who waits and anticipates a want or need being fulfilled at Christmas,. They often get whatever it is, whenever they want it throughout the year.

    Buying for older adults is tricky. They just don't need more "stuff." Books are often a good idea for them. And, I like to think of consumables for Mary's and my parents (all in their 80s). Last year, I gave my parents an assortment of locally produced beef. How weird is that? And, I usually give them a Page-A-Day Cat Calendar from amazon.

    Dish towels that actually DRY dishes. I know where you're coming from.

  4. Last year I gave my godson a battleship board game for xmas, he looked at it and asked me, whats a board game? He's 15 and into video games so I thought it would be a change of pace from the video games. I would have loved to have that gift back in the day. To this day hee hasn't played with it. I guess I'm old fashion.

  5. Racer, I'll play bridge with you or against you any day and twice on Sunday! Let's teach our chldren!
    Art, Legos are the best. Period.
    Steve, I really like you.
    Ice Man, our good friends came to dinner a few weeks ago (they do not have children) and brought our oldest the board game Battleship. He LOVES it. I played with him the next day and he beat me. He played his father the day after that and beat him, too. He thinks it is a GREAT game!! Each child is different.