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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Standard Gifts: Easy Gifts for the Holidays, Too Easy?

I first encountered the concept of the standard gift in the very first organizing book I ever read: Totally Organized.

As I recall, the author mentioned that she had a standard gift for weddings: first, monogrammed pillowcases, and, since she wrote the book, a copy of her book! What a good idea.

When my children were little, the great bargain mecca in my area was a Scholastic Book warehouse sale. This was sort of a secret and open only to teachers. Someone told me about it; I called; and yes, college teachers were eligible. In truth, the sale was open to anyone who knew about it.

One feature of this sale was the "Fill Your Box for $25.00" area. You can get a lot of books--not to mention small educational toys--in a box. These treasures filled our gift shelf for years, saving us time and money.

Since I am not a gift-giving diva like my blogfriend Duchesse or my real-life friend Brigitte, both of whose choices amaze me with their brilliance, I must rely on the one or two sure-fire gifts in my repertoire.

For youngish men, I've already recommended (AT LEAST 5 TIMES) the great pen.

For youngish folk in general, I recommend the Rick Steves travel pack. I got one for Frugal Son a few years ago and may get one (shhhhhh) for Miss Em. Perfect for going abroad.

Garnet Hill, a catalog I've been mooning over for many years, has a good deal for folks of all ages: a cotton fleece throw. At the moment it is half price ($30) and has free monogramming. It comes in yummy colors and would be a wonderful gift for children, teenagers,and so on. It would even be a wonderful gift for ME. That's saying a lot, since I hate getting gifts as a rule.

Do you give standard gifts?


Duchesse said...

I am curious about why you "hate getting gifts"? Would you be willing to say?

Gifts are either standard (bottle of wine, box of candy, pen, etc.) or thoughtful- those take thought and attention. People do what they can; I'm not criticizing the standard gift. Giving a thoughtful gift is also available to anyone who wants to undertake that type of giving.

Jane said...

I tend to give books and gift cards a lot. My daughter prefers gift cards so that she can pick out things she actually wants as opposed to pretending she likes what I gave her lol. That's ok with me!
I only buy for my partner, my daughter and usually a secret santa gift at work (think book!). Last year I decided to give to charity instead of buying gifts for my siblings and asked them to do the same. We are at an age where we need NOTHING and like you I don't like receiving gifts. When I need/want something I prefer to buy it for myself.

SewingLibrarian said...

I give Tiffany crystal candlesticks for wedding gifts. I always get a pleased reaction.

see you there! said...

We don't buy many gifts. I take my 2 grown daughters shopping and out to lunch (each an outing by themself). Their husbands get paid entry for some golf or tickets to a sporting event. Pretty much the same thing happens with the teen aged granddaughter. Shopping and lunch, except she comes home with me and we eat the dinner her Grandpa has prepared for us and then maybe play a board game or watch a movie. The grown/married grandson/wives get a check. Books or home baked goods go out to friends.

In an earlier comment you wondered where I live. Berkeley, CA. We also have a second home in Cobb, CA. I've been posting photos of neighborhood walks around both places on my blog lately if you are interested is seeing either spot.


Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Because I'm usually disappointed...because most gifts are NOT thoughtful...because I'd rather pick out things myself.

@Jane--I hear you on "pretend to like." Many years ago, my bro-in-law said "Can we stop buying things for adults since we never like what we get anyway?" Many sighs of relief.

@Sewing--Now there is a great gift!

@Darla--Wonderful all around, especially the emphasis on experiences. We're thinking of a family lunch this year at a pretty fancy restaurant.

Anonymous said...

For preschool birthdays: Books. (Yay Scholastic-- if there were a warehouse nearby I'd be broke but happy.)

For housewarming parties: a bottle of wine or box of chocolates or something homemade

For weddings: $50 check for friends $100 check for family

For first babies: A zolowear sling.

I make it easy for folks at the holidays with an extensive Amazon wish list full of all the books and music and videos that I decided I wanted during the year but didn't buy right away. (Though I accept other presents as well.)

Duchesse said...

Frugal: I too have been disappointed, sometimes wishing the money had gone to a good cause (or not been spent at all). I've gently influenced Some people do not care or are focused elsewhere, some have psychic wounds that make giving difficult. Still, I feel such joy when delighting those I care about that I keep posting about conscious gifting (including philanthropy.)

See you there: taking someone shopping and to lunch IS a gift. Gifts don't just come in boxes. I just spent my Saturday afternoon rewriting a resumé for someone and consider it a gift.

Duchesse said...

Sorry part of post cut off: "I've gently influenced Some People (aka Le Duc) to give more thoughtfully..."

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I love your posts on gifts. Truly inspirational.

Suzy said...

I enjoy giving gifts..especially the thinking of what would suit the person and going on the 'hunt'.

my only 'standardized' gifts are for when I'm buying for guys at work or quilt group(like this next month) for those I usually go with the Christmas coffee cups and candy/candy cane pen and wrapped in tissue paper. Quilt friends may be the same or something I make like a pillowcase. One friend made some cute cupcake potholders and I want to get the pattern from her big-time! This year I'm thinking about getting some coffees and leaving out for the coffe drinkers since nearly all drink coffee now except for 3 of us..for the other 2 maybe some cute christmas socks with the coffee cups I get for all.

for the 2 kids I buy for I always get a book of some sort to go along with whatever else(for the older girl it's usually some crayola type craft stuff and the boy gets whatever his mom is suggesting or whatever catches my eye - one year that was Geotrax!)

Suzy said...

hey can anyone recommend a good cookbook for my mom? I'm thinking about getting her The Pioneer Woman Cooks since she likes reading them more than cooking from them and likes southern foods (she loves Southern Living magazine and Taste of Home) need to see if she's renewed these since those would be good as well.