I wrote a post last week about a thoughtful gift I'm trying to pull together (and haven't yet, in case you were wondering). The comments astounded me. Many of you shared gift ideas so remarkable that my little attempts at thoughtfulness feel downright wimpy. In case you didn't get a chance to read through them, I asked several of the commenters if I could share their words.
(I know. It's probably mean of me to post this three days before Christmas, when it's too late to implement any of these ideas for this year. How about it if I promise to re-run this in early November next year? In the meantime, enjoy the thoughtfulness and creativity of these women. It made me feel all squishy. Or perhaps that was the eight pounds of corny snack mix I have ingested this week. Either way, enjoy.)
Last year I hand-wrote the whole book of Ecclesiastes in a handmade journal for my husband, who was (and still is) in the throws of depression. It ended up being a gift to both of us, because there is nothing like WRITING something to make it soak in yourself. And anyone suffering like that NEEDS to read Ecclesiastes (all of it), but I think it made it more meaningful and comforting for him to read it in my handwriting. I think.
Kari (and I believe this is what they call speaking your man's love language):
I'm getting my dh an industrial size can of nacho cheese sauce from Sam's Club and the kids are getting him chips.
My most meaningful is a gift to my MIL from my kids. They wrote out their grandma's favorite recipe that she makes and drew a picture of it (I left it unedited because it's darling). I scanned the artwork and printed it on transfer paper. I ironed them onto kitchen hand towels and adorned it with pretty ribbon across the border. I think she will treasure it!
I took a poem from my mom's published book and made it into a hardcover book on one of those photo sites…it even allows you to put a bio on the back flap and picture on the back…I bought one for us girls, our kids, my aunts and my grandmother.
I'm cooking a meal for a family with three children on Wednesday. He works with my son. Payday for them is on Thursday and they never have any money for food or dinner the day before, since they live from paycheck to paycheck. So, I will fix a full meal with meatloaf, baked potatoes, veggies & dip, homemade bread, chocolate cake & Christmas cookies. And give them a gift card for groceries for Christmas.
A violin! My husband mentioned back in the spring that one of his life goals was to own and learn to play a violin. He figured it was prohibitively expensive for now, but wanted to do it at some point in his life. Well, I found one on Craigslist for $100 back in October.
When my husband died, I kept his shirts, and I have been making memory quilts for my 3 children. I have just finished the one for my oldest son, and there is a photo on my blog. I have 2 more to go, and though all the tops are assembled, they are not quilted yet. But they will be soon. My oldest son will be getting his for Christmas.
The gift I have put the most time and love into is for my little girl. This spring when my sister in law moved far, far away…SOB…she gave my daughter the doll her grandmother (thus my girl's great-grandma) made for her probably 35 years ago. My daughter fell passionately in love with this dolly in spite of its age and frankly, time had not been good to the old girl. Her hands and feet were holey. Her yarn wig was falling off. Her face was nasty from 30+ year old stains. She looked bad. Really bad. So, marvelous mommy that I am (snort!), I gave her a make-over! She looks fabulous if I do say so myself. I recovered her entire body, sewed her hair back on, gave her a new face, and even made here a cute Christmas dress (that I put together without a pattern! ! I'm so proud of me!).
Mookslchlabs (and I'm continuing to live in hope that "Mookslchlabs" might actually be "My Mom"):
My daughter and son-in-law both work full time and by the time they are both home, the kiddo's are starving. Daddy gets home first, so is in charge of dinner. This year, they are getting 25 "Freezer Meals"–everything from homemade soup to beef stroganoff. All they need to do is decide the day before what they want, pop in in the fridge to thaw and throw it in the over/microwave/on the stove (depending on what it is) and a nutritional dinner is ready for them in about 30 minutes. Since it isn't anything I could really wrap, I bought the noodles, biscuit mix, rice, etc. that go with some of the casseroles and that is what will be under the tree.
Tootie (and dear Tootie, I think there is absolutely nothing dorky about this):
This may sound dorky, but as far as homemade gifts go, I'm giving my parents some stories I've written about our Christmas times together.
We're putting together a book for my mother filled with pictures and quotes from all the kids.
Rachel (in the True-Love-Is-a-Farting-Hippo category):
Okay, this is going to sound really silly, but I'm so proud of myself for coming up with this idea that I have to share. I'm making my husband a hippo that passes gas. Seriously, that's the best idea I've had. He was watching NCIS and saw Abby the forensic technician had one and died laughing. Anything that can make him laugh like that is worth getting. He is so hard to shop for. My parents are getting him a series of gift cards, but I'm going to give him a really meaningful gift. A hippo that farts.
This will be our last Christmas with my Dad. This year, I went back and compiled old interviews, photos and the rare home movie in a montage of him. (no current stuff, since he's been unable to speak for almost a year.) I made copies for my mom, my brother and myself so we have something to remember him by.
I'm framing two metal ceiling tiles from the 200 year old church we were married in for my husband.
My other favorite thing–kind of a gift–that I'm doing this Christmas is for my brother-in-law. He's a Marine serving in Iraq right now. This is his second deployment and when he's there he grows a mustache. It's just his silly thing and we all tease him about it. I bought enough fake mustaches for everyone in our family and when we take our family photo in front of the tree we'll all wear them and e-mail it to him–it will be like he was there with us!
This year, I found, on the Oprah site of all places, Gratitude Boxes. I'm creating one for each of my grandparents and asking all of the family to write little notes, cards, or letters about memories, wishes for them, or how thankful they are for having them in our lives. This is, by far the gift I'm most excited about giving and it will be from everyone!