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The major gift-giving season is upon us, and occasionally we all need advice and inspiration when it comes to giving advice to family, friends and acquaintances.

So here's my issue: One of my BGP's has twin daughters who are turning one year old in a couple of weeks. My boyfriend and I are godparents to one of them. It won't make much difference this year, but in the future, we'd like to do a little something extra for our goddaughter on her birthday, something more interesting than a savings bond or something. But, because she's a twin, we have to be a little more careful, so as not to make her sister feel left out. The godparents of her sister are her uncle and his wife, who we're also friends with, so I guess we could talk to them and see if they were going to do special for their g.d., to make sure they're doing something, so as not to create sibling rivalry. What kind of special stuff could we do? Maybe when she's older, take day trips to the zoo or something like that?

Does anyone have any suggestions for what to get each of them for a birthday present besides this extra thing? I want to spend between $20-$30 on each kid, either 2 small gifts or one big gift for $40-$60 (or is that a bad idea?)
what kinds of things do their parents do with them? or are trying to teach them? i really like getting fun learning toys for kids. then again, i'm a nerd. there is alot out there through the leap frog series. lots of children's books. clothes do help parents. especially at the young ages when kids are growing out of clothes very quickly.

things to do when they get older...well, 'cause i know we live in the same 'hood. the windy city has many "free" days at the museums in the city. one of my favorite memories as a kid was going to the shedd aquarium and history museum. this way, you have money to eat or buy something for the kid. we had to save money when i was my family really looked forward to those free days.

hope this helps!
They're not super religious (good, because I'm not religious at all- I see this just as a general moral role). I guess I could go the clothes route- I feel stupid putting too much thought into gifts for a one year old- not like they know the difference anyway.

Yeah, I think days out are going to have to be done on their half-birthday because I don't want to haul myself around the big attractions downtown in December, let alone a little kid.
has anyone done any gift-giving towards charity this year?

i participate in a letters to santa program through our local newspaper. but, i felt bad for my kid. first time in several years where i had a letter from a kid i couldn't read. usually the teacher will write after what the kid wrote to make the letter clear for the reader. i hope the kid likes what i got her.

i just thought it would be interesting during this time of year to read what everyone else has done.
At work we had a poll as to what do to in terms of gift giving. Rather than a gift exchange we went for a christmas hamper (which was my vote). I always feel so good when I do them. We got a family with a mom, a six year old, and a 2 month old. I always sign up to give way too much stuff. Twice I've delivered the hampers and that last time the woman burst into tears at all the stuff we'd given and I was really happy that someone grateful could get what they needed.

I think next year I'm going to start donating to charities for gifts.
So is that like a food drive, erinjane? Food and other necessities? I like doing those. A nearby mall has this big Christmas tree with "ornaments" that are really slips of paper, anonymously listing toys, clothes, etc. that a needy kid is asking for. You just go grab an ornament, buy the stuff and bring it back with the tag. I did that for a few years. One year, when I was in college, my dorm floor did a food drive for a needy family and I was the only one, except my RA, who bought anything. I just got a big box of Bisquick, but c'mon, even poor college students can afford a 59 cent can of corn or whatever else was on their list. Sad.
erinjane~i would've been crying with that woman! it had to feel good. i like your hamper idea.

polly~that is sad. there are dollarstores all over the place. at least, you did something.

i really like knowing i am helping someone in need. makes me feel good and feel i am part of the true spirit of the holidays. not to sound like a total sap. i'm trying to do things throughout the year as a way to give back. one of my good friends belongs to a volunteer organization here where she helps out with the elderly and kids.
donations to charities are one of my favorite things to give... everyone has so much STUFF in their houses/apartments anyway, it seems.

one that was a really big hit: I have a friend who's a huge animal lover. (that is, he loves animals hugely. regardless of the animals' size.) so I made a donation to the aspca in his town, and sent a card with a picture of a dog on it to explain the gift.

there are so many cool donations you can make. I have another friend who's polish, so I made a donation to a polish american cultural organization. for that one, they added her to their members' list and she gets invited to their events now.

the christmas hamper is a great idea. my mom's church always organizes toy drives for the local shelters, and they pile all the toys under a tree in the parish. it's really lovely.

on the non-charitable tip, I always think a gift certificate for a massage is a failsafe gift. who doesn't need to relax a bit?
QUOTE(pollystyrene @ Dec 8 2006, 01:47 PM) *

So is that like a food drive, erinjane? Food and other necessities?

Yeah, you get assigned a family and the kids ages and then you buy whatever is on the list of necessities and a turkey and things like that, and gifts for all members of the family. I love doing them. Makes me feel extra good. I always throw in extra stuff.
My parents did that for a couple years, but they call it Adopt-A-Family where I live. I think my dad donated something like 72 turkeys to their local food shelf for Thanksgiving. For work, we all donate to a local women's shelter, but they only accept Target gift certs, cash, or checks. They used to have lists of the families and what they wanted, but not anymore. I used to almost make myself go broke donating for that.

This year, I'm going to focus less on kids, unless I know exactly where the presents are going. A friend of mine told me about how Toys for Tots is run in our area, and it ain't good. People who totally don't need anything are going through the lines several times instead of using the money they have to get toys for their kids. I'd be much more likely to do like Polly did and choose an actual kid. So I'm going to focus on Gifts for Seniors and my local food bank. I love going through the grocery store with one cart for all my charity stuff and another cart for me, and the smile on the face of the person who checks me through and sees me dump it all in the food shelf bin.

I'm going to give under my parents' name to charities, too. They have everything they need, so someone else should, too. And anyway, it's a great alternative when you have no clue what to get your parents.
i just adopted a manatee for my mil. the woman asked for sneakers for christmas so i'll get those for her too, but i know she's going to love this gift. her favorite thing to do when the family gets together is to go down to the river near her house and look for manatees. and, at the same time, i helped fund the save the manatee foundation. it really does feel good!!!
((((FJ)))) I just had to delurk to tell you how much I lurve you to pieces for giving that as a gift. I would be so touched and absolutely thrilled to receive that as a gift. I heart manatees smile.gif
wow. i never heard that abou toys for tots.

cool for adopting manatees!

i kinda like the program i belong to. you can also donate money, which goes towards school supplies for kids in needy homes.

you know what i was thinking about that i like...random acts of kindness. i had a friend in college write a paper on his experience of doing 5 random acts of kindness. one time, he paid for someone's meal. that's pretty cool. i think there are little things that could be done every day of the year. not just at christmas time.
polly - off the current topic, but back to your first post - i have twin cousins and they would always get a bigger gift to share at christmas. either that or my mom would get them gifts that went together, instead of matching stuff.

anna k
I don't have any gifts for anyone. It seems like people have all that they need, now that we're all grown with jobs (me and my siblings, my parents have retired and moved to a new house, my grandma's 80 and doesn't need any new stuff).

Tomorrow I'll visit the flea markets to see if anything jumps out at me that says something about the person I'm buying it for.

Tonight I'm making a mix tape for my sister (I don't have a CD burner), finding songs that she would like, plus surprises (the theme song to Perfect Strangers, Nina Simone, songs by Zooey Deschanel and Maggie Gyllenhaal).

I found holiday food/toy/clothing drives through TimeOutNewYork that I want to donate to.
I'm having such trouble with my boyfriend's present! I've gotten him 3 cacti in a terra cotta pot, and a book. He'll like those gifts, but this is our 3rd Christmas together and I don't want everything I get him to be so generic. I was thinking about getting him a coat from NoSweat, but then he started dropping hints (he's terrible about that) and I strongly suspect that HE'S getting me a lovely coat from there that I was admiring. We unknowingly got each other the same present last year, and I would feel kinda skeezy about getting him a coat too (he doesn't know how obvious his hints are and he's excited about it so I don't want to ruin it for him).

Anyway. I know he would love a drum set, but I can't afford that. So I was looking at djembe drums, which he would also love, but I just realized they're not vegan! Both of us are pretty practical vegans in that we'll eat the eggs from his 3 pet chickens and we don't flip out over every little thing like some of our friends. But I'm not sure. I wish drums didn't involve skins.

i got my boyfriend washable silk pillowcases so he'll have something extra soft to cuddle up to when i'm not sleeping with him. smile.gif

gifts are so weird--i hate giftshopping unless i know what i want to get or i find stuff i'm really excited about, and then i can't wait to give the gifts and see people's reactions!

this year, i'm excited.

My boyfriend got my roommate this interactive R2D2 robot (she loves Star Wars) and I got her this great collection of gifts...both of which she really loved.

In return, my boyfriend got an old hand-me-down sweater of hers that would never fit him. And I got a fake gold necklace that was all dirty and almost broken.

I know she doesn't have much money, but jeez! What the hell ever happened to getting a card with a well-thought out message or homecooking?!
QUOTE(annelise @ Dec 20 2006, 10:11 PM) *

i got my boyfriend washable silk pillowcases so he'll have something extra soft to cuddle up to when i'm not sleeping with him. smile.gif

You are cool.

QUOTE(annelise @ Dec 20 2006, 10:11 PM) *

gifts are so weird--i hate giftshopping unless i know what i want to get or i find stuff i'm really excited about, and then i can't wait to give the gifts and see people's reactions!

Did I mention you're cool? I feel exactly the same way. It really burns me sometimes, though: 'll find the perfect gift in September or something and have to wait until Chanukah to give it!

QUOTE(andraja @ Dec 26 2006, 10:20 AM) *

I know she doesn't have much money, but jeez! What the hell ever happened to getting a card with a well-thought out message or homecooking?!

Amen. Lots of homebaking went out this year, and homemade cds.
Shenomad and I decided no gifts for each other (we'll probably move 3 times in the next 4 years, and have an around-the-world trip planned for 2008--no need for more stuff), so we treated ourselves to a splurge night: dinner, Eric Clapton tickets, and a nice Love Hotel.
Andraja - I got my boyfriend exactly the same R2D2 and was so excited to give it to him. Like, looking forward to it for weeks. And then he opens it up and tells me he already has it (but it's in storage, so I had no way of knowing). sad.gif I suppose there's always that risk when you're with a hardcore collector. Sorry about the sucky stuff your roommate got you and your guy.

andraja, heehee...but I agree. One year my hubby got Sauve Shampoo from is mom is still fuming about it. When the woman is a terrific seamstress and could have easily mad something. Money was tight for us this year so I gave out homemade roasted almonds, and peanut butter fudge.
yeah, i don't think there is anything wrong with homemade gifts. especially if you go to the dollar store. omg, there is so many things you can get there.
I found cute glass jars at the dollar store. They're potbellied, with pointy lids, and have little old-fashioned Christmas trees around the middle. I made chocolates with marzipan in the middle, wrapped them in silver and gold papers, and filled the jars.
I made stress reliever room spray as my homemade gifts this year.....the essential oils were expensive but I only used about 12 drops per jar, and then I got the spray mister things at the Container store. They came out decent.
*bumpity bump*
I'm making a housewarming basket to give to my friends that just bought a house. Here is a short list of things I’m going to include so far:

Dried pasta
A jar of spaghetti sauce
Maybe a candle
A Magnetic “Things to Buy” list for her fridge
Maybe a small photo album
A beginner’s cookbook (cause she said she can’t cook and I can).
A coloring book and crayons (for her daughter)
Lifesavers Gummies (for her husband)

Can anyone think of anything else to put in there? I’m going to try to give it to her sometime next week.
Some good parmesan cheese would be a great addition to the pasta and sauce.
It's my best friend's 32nd birthday tomorrow, and I've bought a few things I hope she'll like,
but the problem is she is super picky, and I'm also afraid she might already have the things I'm going to give to her.

* Desire - Bob Dylan (she just recently got into Dylan, and especially loves "Oh, Sister" and "Sara"
which both are on this LP, but I'm afraid she might already have it. It's 2nd hand, so I can't get a
refund/swap it. I also hope it sounds ok - I can't listen to it myself, my record player is broken.)

* A pretty rare children's book from 1975 that be both loved as kids (I'm pretty sure she doesn't have it,
we've talked about when we used to borrow it at the library). It's a little worn, but what could you expect
from a 32-year-old children's book?

* A novel that got a lot of attention and praise here when it came out 1 year ago. That too is bought 2nd hand,
but looks like it's brand new. She might already have read it, or maybe she doesn't want to read it at all.

When it comes to gifts I tend to become just a tad Bree Van de Kamp.
I hate it when people don't like or think their gifts are sort of blah.
I want them to be perfect! The gifts, not the people, that is..

Oh well, I hope she'll like them anyway. Tomorrow I'll know!
I think those are very nice gifts...and a lot of thought went into them...also, I like that you bought used books and records...recycling is's also nice to pass along books and records that have been *loved* before, it's very special...but it sounds as though you know this ; ) Good luck, I hope she's happy with them!

thank you! smile.gif Well actually she did like her presents a lot, which made me happy.
I don't always recycle, but when it comes to records & books it's rather convenient,
especially when they are out of print (as was the case with the children's book).
I always think it's rather sad to leave second hand books & records behind in the store
if I love them, even if I already have them. Sometimes I buy them anyway and hope
I'll find someone later on who might like them. It seems like a waste that they just
should stand there, forgotten and left out among the BAD books and BAD records. wink.gif

I'm trying to think of a nice gift for my thesis advisor, but I can't think of a thing! I was going to get her a really nice bottle of wine, but I don't think she drinks anymore. So there goes that idea.

Any suggestions?
QUOTE(coela @ Mar 7 2007, 03:50 AM) *
I always think it's rather sad to leave second hand books & records behind in the store
if I love them, even if I already have them. Sometimes I buy them anyway and hope
I'll find someone later on who might like them. It seems like a waste that they just
should stand there, forgotten and left out among the BAD books and BAD records. wink.gif

i do the same thing! this is why i have about 5 copies of 'the awakening' and 5 more of 'age of innocence'

faerie, how 'bout a gift certificate to a nice local restaurant? or a book related to the topic of your thesis, or anything she'd be interested in, that way you can inscribe it with your thanks.
Mother's Day is creeping up on us!!

Does anyone have any good ideas? I'm thinking of martini glasses for my mother, but Crinoboy's mom doesn't drink, so I don't know what to get her. Maybe a decorative home accessory. Although, I gave her a vase last year...crap.
Gift certificate for a facial? Pampering's always nice...
my mom's so difficult to give a gift. i tried the manicure gift certificate, but she has arthritis and fat knuckles so she's embarassed. she's also too vain or shy or practical or whatev to go for a facial or massage.

if i get her a gift c for dinner or the movies, she'll take my dad, so it's not so much a special gift for her only.

of course when i ask her i get the standard - i don't want you to buy me anything....

she gets a lot of books.
nickclick, what about taking her out for a day or mother and daughter time? you could buy her a meal and go shopping or to the cinema or theatre, anything that's just you and her?
bb, thanks, that's a great idea, we do both like going to artsy-fartsy movies!
The countdown to Christmas has begun!

I'm going to try and be economical this year and make a few things (I have the time and the inclination, which helps). So far I've decided -and already started- to make mix CDs of really cool Christmas songs, which has me very excited as they are going to rock and I think I'll also make florentines for people. Do any of you make/bake things for people during the holidays? If so, what do you do? I'm not sure of what else I could give people...
That mixed CD thing is a great idea. I could definitely do that for my parents. I love baking, but I've been trying to stay away from it since Weight Watchers... however, cookies would be a good idea.

I've also discovered the wonderfully economical present that is pictures in frames! I got a bunch of plain black frames and photo paper (I have a photo printer) and printed pictures to put in frames as presents recently. They were very well received, so i was happy.
love the framed photo christmas gift. last year i made a portrait of my boyfriend and his siblings for his parents. just required a little planning, nice lighting, and a few bucks for an enlargement and a nice frame. they loved it. other nice things to frame for the nostalgic in your life are old postcards of a hometown or favorite place, easy to find on ebay or whereever, or old family photos, which are even cool to bring to kinko's to make calendars or mugs or whatever.

yay christmas!
A couple years ago, a person at work gave me a bunch of family pictures to decoupage onto a cigar box purse. I guess the recipient loved it to bits.

I'm going to be busy crafting this holiday... again. I make truffles especially for the holidays, probably 15 flavors this year, and customize other things I already do year-round, like purses and jewelry. It makes me a fair bit of money (the truffles pay for themselves with a ton of extras to use for gifts). I'm just happy I'm one of those people who can whip stuff up like that with fairly little notice. I just wish my family liked to receive that stuff, but it's hard when your parents are picky and your brothers don't appreciate that kind of stuff. I'm going to try my hand at cookies, too, if I can find the time. I've never done Christmas cookies, just the regular everyday kind.

i love love love christmas! i make chocolate covered candied oranges. i have been making these for several years, maybe 7, and although they are time consuming i always look forward to making them. my whole house will smell so good. i usually give these with candied pecans. they are quick and easy to make and always a big hit.

so, the otherday i was looking at ideas for christmas tree decor and i was wondering what others do? last year we hd a crazy huge tree that reached the top of our 25ft ceiling so we just had lights and ribbons on it. it was really impressive! we have a bit of land that is nicely forested so we get to walk out our door and find the tree we want and cut it down. i may be very childish about all this but i still love it all.

I've also discovered the wonderfully economical present that is pictures in frames! I got a bunch of plain black frames and photo paper (I have a photo printer) and printed pictures to put in frames as presents recently. They were very well received, so i was happy.

photos are wonderful for xmas. one year i went through allll the old photos of my sister and i when we were little, and picked five of each of us at varying stages of childhood. i got two frames that had five openings each, and did one of me growing up and one of my sister. i put them under the tree after my parents had gone to bed on christmas eve, so they had no idea whatsoever. my mom cried. it was so sweet, and they've had the frames on their wall ever since.
shiny, your tree last years sounds beautiful! Christmas trees are probably my favourite part of the holidays and this year we're having two -one in the living room and the other in the lounge- as we've moved to a bigger house.

Traditionally I buy my mum tree ornaments -mainly glass- every year so I'm always on the look out for pretty ones; my friend recently suggested Swarovski's tree ornaments to me and now I'm smitten. I've also started to do the same for the boy's mum and will buy her a tree decoration as an extra gift. If I wasn't so poor this month I would have started the ornament shopping last week.
Ohhhhh Shinyx3, is their a recipe for the candied oranges? Sounds like it'd go down a treat with my families.

I'm not big on any celebration, apart from New Years, but both families LOVE LOVE LOVE the christmas season. This year is gonna be brutal - brother-in-law is working over my partner's birthday (Christmas Eve) and on the Day, my great-grandma is ill so we want to get down to NSW for that (at least 2, probably 3 hours in the car in the middle of summer to get there). I've started shopping already though - some Ross Campbell stuff for my sister, an art print for the Marital Unit. Not much else. I'm thinking a few magazine subscriptions as well.
i use to be really good about getting my shopping done early. i mean really early. i would basicly be on the lookout all year long for good gifts. this year i just haven't been inspired. mostly cos i have been doing baby shopping and not much else. i am all giddy about christmas this year already though. the stors already have some christmas stuff up and one can find quite alot of inspiration with out having to spend any money.
Later than usual, I started my Christmas shopping yesterday. I bought a lovely jumper dress for my little sister, fleecy baby dungarees for my pseudo nephew and a hat for the boy. I plan to do some more shortly.

I'm going to buy this for the boy's sis who has recently given birth; I have some of the freshly caught fairies myself and think they are cute and unique, especially for a new mother gift.

I love fairies and think I may buy one for my friend for Christmas.
Although I love presents, I LOVE seeing people open the presents I give them.

This year, I want to make a few presents..particularly pillows. Sadly, I am unsure how to make a pillow. I need to look up info on a web site that isn't too confusing. Since I am a relative craft-virigin (I've done cross-stitching), this may be a hard process for me.

As for my shopping, I have my mom's stuff done, since we do Christmas at Thanksgiving.

shinyx3, I'd love to hear how you make chocolate covered candied oranges! They sound fantastic.
me too!

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