Question of the Day: What is the best gift you've ever received? What's the best gift you've ever given to someone else?
Here it is, yet another Christmas just around the corner. The fam's perking up, what with all the festive decorations and big meal plans. You've got the toy trains ready for your nephews, the Barbie dolls for your nieces, the journals for your aunts and the wallets for your uncles. But nada for your sister, brother, Mom, Dad, immediate family.
You feel like you've bought it all in the past. Movies, books, lotions, golf clubs, candlesticks. What about this year? No clue. It's like all the gift ideas have been sucked out of you. And there's...what, five days left? Four? Dang it!
Let me tell you a little story. I think I've told you this before, but I go to China for vacation every year during the summertime. Right around my birthday, which is June 22nd. A couple years ago, I had my birthday party a few days before our leave. I wanted to see my friends and celebrate my surviving another year, well, at home. We had a cake, foosball, television, video games, cupcakes, and lots of other fun goodies. When we had cupcakes, I smashed mine into my boyfriend's face. IT WAS AWESOME!!! Funny enough, my boyfriend (let's just call him Boyfriend for now) had one of my other friends get it all on video with his camera. And not just that, but EVERYTHING I was doing. I hate being taped or having photos taken of me, but I guess it was my fault since I promised him that, for this one day only, he'd be able to take photos of me and video me. Needless to say, he REALLY took advantage of that!
I got lots of gifts that year. But the one gift that I loved the most was the one Boyfriend gave me. (this is where you say: AAaawwWWWw!!) He didn't give it to me until the day before I left for China...on his way out, he handed me a CD. He told me I wasn't allowed to look at it until I was on the plane to Shanghai. I promised I wouldn't. But you can bet that the first thing I did the moment the pilot said, "okay, folks, you may now use your electronics" was bring out my laptop and stick that CD in.
The CD was a video of my entire birthday party. Everything was there. The cupcake smash, the foosball games, my face (ick), Boyfriend's face, and everyone else who had been at my party. Total nostalgia right there. At the beginning of the video, Boyfriend said that since I wouldn't be there for my real birthday, he had compiled a bunch of photos and a video of all the people he knew I'd miss and who would miss me back. That way, whenever I felt homesick, I could just watch the video.
In different parts of the video, Boyfriend even had interviews of different friends say things about my trip to China. "Hope you have fun!" "Get back safely!" "Bring me some noodles!" I think I watched the video about four times all the way through during the plane flight.
Bottom line is, gifts that come from the heart are always the best. I'm a total sucker for homemade gifts as it is. I hope this little story gives you some inspiration about what to give your family and closest friends this year. :) And if you're STILL stuck, here are a few ideas:
1) Bookmarks. If someone close to you is a total bookworm and you've given them, like, a trillion novels in the past, I think they'd appreciate a small collection of bookmarks. Make a few of your own (after decorating with markers and stickers, laminate them) and buy a few. Tie them with a pretty bow. You can even put them in special categories, such as Seasons of the Year or Moods/Colors.
2) Recipe cards. Any cooks/chefs you know would definitely appreciate these! Ask different people you know for their favorite recipes, and along with your own, write them on separate note cards. You can even draw a small picture of what the end result looks like if you're an artist. Punch holes into the cards and hook them on a ring so they stay together. Perfect!
3) Candy. For a good friend of yours who you've known for a very long time, give them a box of different candies that you used to eat together as children but aren't seen very much anymore, such as Mary Janes, Wax Bottles, Fireballs, Bonomo's Turkish Taffy, Chiclets gum, and War Heads. You can buy candy from any decade you want here at Old Fashioned Candy.
4) Homemade Videos/Movies. Take a leaf out of Boyfriend's book and make a movie about how you two became friends. :) Or just simply tape yourself telling that person exactly what he/she means to you, and how glad you are that person is in your life.
5) Scrapbook. Take all the photos you have of you and that person and compile it into a book. If you're feeling really creative, get some scrapbook essentials (such as stickers, stamps, old trinkets, ribbon, etc.) and decorate each page. Be sure to label all photos and title each page! This is definitely one gift you can't go wrong with, and you can be sure your friend/relative will cherish it forever.
What is most important is that the gift matters as much to you as it does to them.
That's a gift that comes from the heart.