What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
My favorite gifts I’ve given have always been ornaments for my mom. She collects bird ornaments, so it’s always fun to search for the perfect ornament. I live out in the country, but there’s this great ornament shop that’s an old converted house that I go to every year. I’ve never seen so many ornaments in one spot. Think the Tim Taylor of ornament collections. The shop is run by this really sweet widow (who lost her husband just a few years ago). I really enjoy going in and talking with her each year. She remembers me each year and knows why I come in, so she often has suggestions for me upon seeing me come in.
While I’m not a “gift” person when it comes to Christmas, hands down my favorite Christmas gift was 2 years ago. My best friend got married 2 weeks before Christmas (tomorrow is their anniversary actually) in 2010, so as a combined birthday (which is in September) and Christmas present, my dad and step mom paid for me to fly out and spend a week there. A week in my favorite city, my best friend’s wedding, some of my best friends, and meeting new friends… it was definitely the best week of my life. I, unfortunately, haven’t been back sense, so I’m very over do.
Unfortunately, I’ve never really thought about asking what gift giving was like years ago in my family since my thoughts aren’t very “gift-centeric”, but we do have a neat tradition at my mom’s parents. A few years ago, my grandma was trying to figure out what to do about Christmas since she only had 2 grand children under the age of 18 (which is her cut off for gifts), but she also had a great grandchild that she wanted to give a gift to. So she came up with the idea of giving everyone a small amount of money, a candy bar, and lottery tickets while Hayden (her great-granddaughter) would still get a “kid gift”. Boy did that go over well! As the years have passed and no one has struck it rich, grandma wonders every year if she should continue it, because she thinks of it as “wasted money”, but no one else seems to care and loves the idea of a gift with maximum surprise factor.