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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gift Advice from the Duchesse of Gifts

Duchesse left a lovely comment the other day:

A dinner you make for a loved one as Funny About Money did is a gift; making a CD of an elder's favourite music, or restoring an old photo (not very expensive). Writing someone a poem, or playing a board game with kids until they want to stop... I could go on. It's not about spending money.

Now, if you read Duchesse's blog (on vacation now), you know that the gifts she selects are simply perfect. Really. She's got the gift.

Note, though, that her concept goes beyond buying. Mr. FS doesn't buy me gifts. That's because he knows I don't really want anything PLUS I'm too picky and he knows he could never figure out what I want.

Every now and then, he surprises me. Out of the blue, he'll say, "I finally got around to putting up that extra shelf you wanted." OR "I got some whatever so now I can fix the whatever you complained about." Half the time (nay, more), I don't even remember making the request. But he does.

He does the same for Miss Em. She is always creating artworks, some very large. He's always figuring out how to frame or display these sometimes oddly-shaped artifacts.

As Duchesse pointed out elsewhere, the key to gifts, whether in the material realm or outside it, is paying ATTENTION.

What's the best gift you've ever given? Gotten?


Tanya said...

A friend gave me two waterproof notebooks and a waterproof pen just before I left to spend 3 months on a sailing ship. Priceless, and so considerate that my heart melts thinking about it even now.

The best gift I ever gave was, sadly, when I was very small-- 6 or 7? I don't remember what it was-- but it was something very small, and I wrapped it in several layers of box and ribbon for my mother who enjoys opening things much more than anything she ever gets. She tells that story all the time because she was blown away by the fact that I noticed that and gave accordingly.

metscan said...

Duchesse named great gifts without price tags, gifts anyone of us can afford to give and accept.
I´m afraid I can´t name just one gift accepted or given above another.

Funny about Money said...

The best thing anyone can give me is their company.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

The best gift I was ever given was when my husband packed us up a picnic lunch and an extra loaf and took me to the nearby duck pond to feed the ducks (which isn't even his thing...). Oh, and I know we're not supposed to be concentrating on stuff, but I really love the opal and blue topaz necklace he got me 4 years ago...

The best gift I have ever given is the Netflix subscription for his grandparents. Totally my idea and grandma LOVES it! They don't have a computer, so we talk on the phone and I add things she requests to her queue.

My husband also loves the gifts I get him since I write things down that he mentions in passing and surprise him with it whenever I feel like it (like the Boogie Board writing tablet I got him for graduating...he mentioned it looked cool when our doctor used it...). He also seems to love the supplies I get him for his hobbies. :-)

Lindy Julian said...

One of my favorite gifts was from my Lizzie when she was 17. She went through numerous boxes of pictures--- scanned--enhanced (or whatever it is you do when you are the photo shop queen!)-- shopped the sales at the frame shop and had them matted and framed. A complete surprise and a wonderful work of art-but what I really loved was that she had heard me say how I would love family pictures going up the staircase wall and then spent months working on the project to surprise me on christmas morning. (and she spent her own money and did not put them on the credit card!)

Funny about Money said...

Now that I think of it, two "gifts" vie for "best given."

One year, every time I asked my ex-DH what he wanted for Christmas, he said "money." So... I took my paycheck (which wasn't much!) down to the bank, cashed it out in one-dollar bills, packed them into a shoebox, and wrapped it in Christmas paper! LOL! Was he ever nonplussed!

The next year, his answer to the perennial question was "real estate."

He was one of the first franchise lawyers in the U.S., and he represented Red Carpet Realty, one of the first franchise real estate companies. I called his client and asked for a business card, which had a logo very like the ones that appeared on the company's For Sale signs.

Then I got a pretty little square bonzai pot, filled it with cactus planting mix, and concocted a small desert landscape. Fashioned a tiny "For Sale" sign out of the logo from the business card and stuck it in the dirt.

He still kept the Real Estate in his office even after we divorced. {sigh}

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff said...

That Real Estate pot soundes awesome! I'm sorry the memory is bitter-sweet. I've spent more than a third of my life with Mr. BFS (we met when we were 18), all of my adult memories would be bitter-sweet if we ever go our separate ways...

Frugal Scholar said...

@tanya==Both wonderful--my heart melts when I read the second story.
@metscan--You are a good person. I definitely have favorites.
@funny==Does blog company count? Hope so.
@budgeting--All wonderful. Love the gift for your grandparents. And how you are such a good listener...Thanks.
@BFS--Wait till it's more than half!
@Lindy--So excited that you left a comment and what a wonderful one about your wonderful girl. It was so nice to meet you in person.

Duchesse said...

Thanks for your comments! I'm sorry to say, Frugal, that "I finally got around to putting up that extra shelf you wanted" is simply love, but not a formal gift :)

I'm not above being thrilled by a gift of a beautiful or longed-for object. One Christmas when I was about 15, my parents surprised me (a competitive skier) with a pair of really good skis; I was in heaven.

When Le Duc and I met, money was scarce and he baked me a heart-shaped cake for our first Valentine's Day. That meant more to me than a big box of roses my ex-husband used to give me without thought.

All anyone has to do to give good gifts is slow down and pay attention.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I always agree with you, but, in this instance I must say: I think it counts as a gift. Thanks for inspiring so many people. (Plus, your cofmment was a gift to ME)

Anonymous said...

I've always been a fan of the surprise gift received on an unexpected day. I like to receive them more than gifts that are "scheduled".

And I always make the effort to wrap gifts and put bows on them, because I think that unwrapping is half the fun of receiving a gift.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Ms M--I'm with you on the unscheduled gifts. In fact, I love spontaneous gifts--just hate feeling obligated to mark certain occasions.

My daughter wraps beautifully--it's one of my (many) weak spots.