I’ve always struggled at giving gifts, and that is mainly because I really want to give things that are personal, creative, or something they cannot go out and buy in a store themselves. The meaning of the holidays can get away from us, which is why I feel it’s important to give gifts that remind your loved ones how much you care about them. These are hard to think of, but when I was asked to give out some gift-giving advice, I thought hard and here is what I came up with. These are things that matter to me, they can be accessed by all five senses, and they will make you just as excited to watch them receive them as they will be to open them.
Records, old and new: I like to send friends records that make me think of them, of artists they like, and just for novelty purposes. Even if they don’t have a record player, they make great wall art.
Homemade goods: I am really into making pickles, jams, and preserves. I usually end up with shelves full of tomato jam, grape jelly, olive oil, and tomatillo salsa by the end of our harvest. They’re so fun to make and even better to give away- I definitely can’t eat it all.
Books: The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott is a beautiful read. I love giving people books that have made an impact on me, such as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers or any Bukowski, especially if they’ve never gone to that realm before. I also love to give people cookbooks and art books, or anything that would look great on their coffee table.
CSA’s: I can’t think of a better gift than fresh and local produce delivered to their door weekly. Community Shared Agriculture is one of the best ways to eat right and sustainably. Go here for find one nearest you: www.localharvest.org
Art, poetry, stories, photos by you: I’ve written stories about my friends, for my friends, mostly based on the ridiculous incidents that can’t solely be expressed through conversation- they need to be written down. It is always rewarding on both ends. Whatever your medium us, giving someone one of your creations is by far one of the most meaningful ways to give. Some examples…
- Kat is a very good friend of mine. What I like about her is that everything she says and does, intentional or not, is hilarious. Even the story of her dog’s passing. I exaggerated the story here: www.ashleyarabian.com/2012/09/12/short-story-a-dogs-funeral
- Another friend of mine went through a hard break up, which always comes with funny, sad, annoying, angry, and intense stories. She had one that I really wanted to jot down: www.ashleyarabian.com/2012/09/09/flash-fiction-the-moccasins
Both these stories made us laugh even more on the past, as difficult as it may have been, but adding a little exaggeration and humor to it surely made it better.
Adventures: This year I gave my dad a gift certificate to a day of sky diving for his birthday- he went nuts. You don’t have to get crazy, though. A gift certificate to a restaurant, a day of wine tasting, or a night in a hotel are all things I would love to receive myself.
Here at YM&C we’re getting very excited about the holidays and gift-giving. We will be sharing more of our “favorite things” throughout the week! Stay tuned!