Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Season of Giving

My kids and I share something in common, we all have birthdays within a month of Christmas. This means that we get a lot of stuff all at once and it can be hard to find a standout gift for us. This year I received lots of fun presents for my birthday: gift cards, cash, an awesome camera from my husband, tons of cards, calls and well wishes. I felt very loved this year.

As you all know it is the time of year where we are trying to find something special for our loved ones and often times people need nothing and don't want more junk cluttering up there space but you want to do something so they know you care. Here are two awesome gifts I received for my birthday this year that may just help you think of your own awesome ideas for a few of the people on your list.

First, let me say that one of the reasons I LOVED both of these was they were completely unexpected but given from the heart.

My very dear friend Annika is a stay-at-home mom on a budget. I love that she prioritizes staying home with her beautiful daughter over society's push to have us all believe we must compete financially with the "Jones." Annika is kind, funny, generous, honest and a really great mom. She is one of those friends that you count yourself lucky to have. She never gossips, doesn't participate in competitive woman drama and tells you straight up if you cross a line. I love people like that!

For my birthday this year Annika surprised me with a copy of "Joy of Cooking". It is the perfect gift for me. She knew I did not have it because a few months ago I wanted a copy a bread recipe and she told me it was from "Joy" and I told her I didn't own that cookbook. She remembered.

Now what you also must know is that I love cookbooks. I read them like novels and as you can see I have been reading this one at night before sleep. The tip here is to take the time to find out what a person enjoys, what they do not have and what they would actually use when buying a gift. I know it is tempting to buy what you find on sale or what matches your taste but really if you are going to give a gift, and you actually like the person, take the extra time to make it about them.

The second really standout gift this year was from my mother-in-law's neighbor Dianne. I have only met Dianne a few times but she is one of those people who never meets a stranger. Jack took to her right away too and he is the kid that takes a long time to warm up to people. This summer while I was struggling with my own health stuff and dealing with Grace's hip dysplasia, Dianne sent a very sweet and encouraging card. I was completely surprised when I received this in the mail from Dianne for my birthday.

Dianne made a card with 34 positive things that describe how she sees me. What a great gift! This is a wonderful gift for any holiday and is perfect for mother's day, birthdays, Christmas, get well soons, or just a random note to let someone know you are thinking of them. I mean really folks, who wouldn't like to hear the nice things people think about you. I am totally stealing this idea. And as you know, I had a rough year and did not handle it as gracefully as I would have liked and this gift was a very sweet reminder that along with my bag of bad habits and less than ideal personality traits, there are a few good things that people see in me too. I am going to hang this on the wall in my closet so that I can see it each morning as I get ready this year.

I hope these gifts from my generous friends will inspire you to get creative during this year's giving season.

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