Friday fluff: Holiday presents

Though I’m a curmudgeon who mostly opts out of the obligatory gift-giving at this time of year, I do appreciate hearing about the great finds other people dig up. If you do gifts, what gift are you most excited about giving this year? Are you crafting anything fabulous? Did you find the perfect gift for your hard-to-shop-for dad/sister/in-law/boss/etc? Tell us all about it!

75 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Holiday presents

  1. My dad is a 76-year-old Eagle Scout Master who is leaving for another mountain-climbing expedition the day after Christmas.

    So I assembled an “Elderly Scoutmaster Recovery Kit” that includes Tired Old Ass Soak (and a few other TOS products), a heating pad, and a boo-boo-bunny freezer pack. I tried to find Superman Band-Aids (I guess they finally figured out the irony and stopped making them), but settled for camoflage.

    Mom’s getting a stuffed duck that sings and bops around to the Chicken Dance Song, but that’s a loooooong story.

  2. “Health At Every Size: the truth about your weight” by Linda Bacon. I looove this book and wish I could give it to more people, but I’m only giving it to people I know are interested and sympathetic (my Mom!). I wish I could give it to one of my friends, but I’m not sure she’d take it in the spirit I intended. I think I’ll just leave it lying around my house for her to see.

    And I am thrilled to have thought of getting a headlamp for my dad. It’s a perfect gift for him (you’ll have to take my word for it).

  3. Oh, and the aunt that has a habit of sweetly asking if the gift reciepts are included before she even unwraps her gifts is getting a donation to the Save the Animals Foundation in her name.

    Exchange that, lady!

  4. I’m making almost all my gifts this year. I’m thinking of making the person I like a scarf with starfish on which has the tripple benefit of keeping them warm, being sweet and being an anime refrence. I also managed to draw the hardest person to buy for in the house secret santa but found a crochet pattern for something he’d really love so I’m on that! checking out the craft fair for family on the weekend, you can pick up some amazing things that way XD

  5. The website blurb.com has great book-making software. I made a memory book with pictures, essays and poems I wrote about my family, and special recipes. The software was very easy to use and I was able to create a book that looked very professional. With free shipping now, I was able to get one book for only $17.95. I ordered on premium glossy paper as well. I can’t wait to receive it and I hope it looks as good as I’m imagining.

  6. i must confess i am really bad at holding on to really awesome gifts. thus my beloved has already recived the carthaginian and ancient roman coins i bought for him. but the look of childish glee on his face when he got them was too perfect, so i think it was worth it. i’ve a few fun history books for him and i’m not sure what else will be on his holiday plate.

    my raver sister is getting fun striped tights and a colorful fishnet sirt. and i found this really lovely humigbird ornament for mom.

  7. I am making my teenaged- and college-aged nieces Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad day jars.

    The jars I get from a craft store. I put chocolate in the bottom. I print out quotes and stories from when they were younger and fold them up on sheets of paper. when they have a Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day they take a sheet of paper and read what I say–and hopefully cheer up a little. If not, there is the chocolate.

  8. This summer at a flea market I scored a 1966 Milton-Bradley Kreskin’s ESP Game, complete in box and in very good condition — the perfect gift for my sister-in-law and her husband. And I got all the pleasure of finding a bargain as well, so it’s like it gives twice.

    I’ve also begun to crochet octopus cat toys to give to everyone I know who has cats. Just tiny bags, really, stuffable with catnip, with eight wriggly arms attached. My cats love them so I reckon others will too, plus they’re fun to make. I plan on baking peanut butter dog biscuits too, but that’ll have to wait until just before the day. I hope other dogs like ‘em as well as mine does, but since my dog will eat anything remotely edible and some things not, I can’t be sure.

  9. My boyfriend is getting “American Lion” an Andrew Jackson biography by Jon Meacham. My beloved has never in five years specified a gift that he wanted for either Christmas or his birthday. But his little history buff ears perked up when we saw Meacham on Jon Stewart and he looked at me like a little kid and said “you could get me that for Christmas” so of course I did.

    I bought it at Powell’s for $30… I see you can get it on Amazon for $16.50 but oh well, a trip to Powell’s is worth $30 (despite the fact that I work 4 blocks from my favorite bookstore I go there less than once a month).

    While there I picked up a 16×20 photograph of Oregon State in the 1942 Rose Bowl, that will be for the boyfriend’s 30th birthday in january.

    Otherwise… I’m makig lot’s of cookies to send and pass around. Who doesn’t love cookies I ask?

  10. I’m knitting for most of my family this year:

    - Fingerless mitts/gloves for my cousin & my brother’s fiancee
    - Hat for my brother
    - Lace scarf for my aunt
    - Lace shawl for my mom
    - Lace shawl for a good friend who will TOTALLY understand that I do not have time to get this to her even remotely near Christmas itself!

    My main problem-recipients are my two male cousins – ages 12 (I think) and 16. They live 3000 miles away and I haven’t seen them in two years. Anyone have any ideas for what’s popular among boys that age these days? I may end up just waiting until I see them and getting/making gifts at the last minute once I find out what they’re interested in now. I’ll have about a week between when I see them and when we exchange gifts, I think… I could totally bang out a few hats or something in that time, as long as they aren’t supposed to be surprises.

  11. Ha! Lexy, I’m getting the same book for my mother (actually, having one of my aunts buy it, but it comes to the same thing) for the same reason!

    I’m buying my SIL a Wii Points card, because someone gave one to us for our wedding, and we realized that it was a perfect gift, especially for someone who’s flying in.

    I found an awesome necklace for my MIL on Etsy, which was on 20% off sale because I bought it the Sunday after Black Friday. I plan on buying at least one more gift of Etsy, if I can manage it. I found the most beautiful necklace EVER but it’s $89 and the only person I can justify spending $89 on is, um, male (my husband), so that ain’t gonna happen. Although I did hint strongly that if it showed up under the tree, I wouldn’t be mad. I’d post a picture but the link is at home.

    Hopefully I can get the bulk of my shopping done this weekend, so I can quit fretting about it.

  12. I had a flash of inspiration for hubby’s gifts this year but I can’t say what they are since I know he reads here. :)

    I am really excited about what I got for my mum, though! I tracked down a beautiful Imperial Topaz ring for her from one of her favourite jewelers. This is my first Xmas here in the US (I just moved from the UK) so getting gifts for my family back home is important to me. My brother is getting a mass of DVDs, including an old Christmas movie we used to watch every year when we were kids. They stopped playing it on TV about 5 years ago and I know he misses it, so I dug up a copy. Dad is getting DVDs and books since he bought himself his main gifts and told me to just pick out some smaller things.

    I found a beautiful pashmina for my Nan (and got an awesome deal on it on Amazon), and a brooch to go with it, and my Pop is getting a box of gourmet dark chocolates from the company that supplied the chocolates for my wedding. My Grandma, who is facing her first Christmas without her husband of over 50 years, is getting a ridiculously huge bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. She’s also getting a phonecall on Christmas Eve.

    I’m still shopping for my in-laws! I have my SIL’s gifts already, but my MIL and FIL are a bit harder to shop for.

    I also found the most awesome gift EVER: a tea of the month club gift card from Teavana. I put it on my wishlist and I am REALLY hoping hubby gets it for me.

    I love Christmas. ^_^

  13. I made an office gift faux pas last year – didn’t realize I was supposed to be exchanging gifts with a certain group of people (I did get gifts for everyone on my team) so I didn’t get anything and felt quite stupid when gifts started showing up in my office. This year, as I need to cover 13 people in my office, I am baking muffins. I am a member of a CSA so I’m using the pumpkin and the sweet potatoes that we got in our last few harvests of the season. I bought nice cupcake wrappers, bakery boxes, string, and crinkly paper. In the end it may not turn out to be less expensive but I’m having fun and I think people will appreciate the home-baked muffins.

    Speaking of bad-ass gifts, I managed to get a Kindle for my mother and I’m really bummed I won’t be there to see her face when she opens the gift.

  14. I’m never good at coming up with creative gift ideas, but I love shopping for gifts all the same. My immediate family is getting DVD box sets I think they’d like and books I’ve read that I’m fairly sure they’ll enjoy. I’m still searching for tid bits for friends. But, I’ve discovered that putting friends’ hobbies as a search term on Cafe Press yields some neat and unusual options.

  15. I’m doing pretty well this year.

    Spouse got a senior year high school yearbook that I managed to buy from the current yearbook director, because he never got one and is now getting Facebook friended by people he can’t remember. She managed to root back in storage and find one. Couldn’t keep that more than a day before giving it to him, though, so he got that in September.

    My mom is getting Mamma Mia! and me forcing her to sit and watch it with me, because otherwise she wouldn’t take the time. I also haven’t seen her in a year and a half, so hopefully it will be a good visit.

    My in-laws are getting a nice digital picture frame, loaded with a bunch of pictures of the kids, because we have been lax and haven’t sent the school pictures for the last two years. Plus, since we always use our digital camera and they don’t use the computer much, there’s not much way to get photos to them.

  16. The whole long list gets homemade cranberry vodka with a picture of the kitty on the label, the inner circle is getting elaborate homemade headbands,
    My mom is getting a silver down coat from Lands End, my brother a nomex flightsuit,
    and snowshoes, a snowboard helmet and wool socks for the boy.

  17. My boyfriend is getting a book of Gabriel Garcia Marquez short stories because he told me he wanted a book and he’s a lit major who never read Garcia Marquez and Sense and Sensibility because he likes the movie so much.

    My mother is getting a night off from cooking

    My father is probably getting a cake of his choice

    My boyfriend’s family is going to indirectly receive a jar of jam or local honey for his father. Something pretty for his mother. Something useful for the stepmother she is a big tea drinker so probably a teapot or nice mug. For his sister something by Tamora Pierce or Anne McCaffery (I wish I’d known about Tamora Pierce at that age). For the brothers, god only knows. My boyfriend while being very sweet, doesn’t know what to get his family so asks for help. Apparently in previous years they got a lot of books.

  18. My friends and I usually just get each other something little, because we all have biggish families to buy for (Most of us have at least one sibling along with parents, of course) but I decided to just make something this year. I went around and asked all my friends what sort of food they would like to own as a stuffed toy. I got everything from a bowl of curry to a Hershey Kiss. Considering the fun involved with making such foods (can you say hello to self-made patterns?) I asked them for silly faces to have on them as well. They all like the idea and it’s relatively simple considering I had a few weeks to work out ideas of how to make them before I bought the material. I spent about $60 on thread and fleece (I forgot the actual stuffing, sadly, in all the mayhem of carrying around about 9 bolts of different colored fabric; I also forgot the black felt for the faces, so yikes, but it’s not going to cost too much more) but considering I’m making gifts for 9 people, that’s a very decent price. All I have to do now is really make them, but I have all my patterns drawn out and I’ve got plenty of time. They’re not going to be too big. Things like the apple and banana and bowl of curry are going to be life-size, but the Hershey Kiss and Cookie are going to be about five-times larger.

    Wish me luck! I hope to have the ones done for friends in my immediate area done by Christmas!

  19. My seven year old is getting an Nintendo DS. She is going to be shocked, dazed and thrilled. It is not the type of gift we usually give her and not what she typically wants. But she has played the Imagination Babysitter game and desperately wants this . She also wants the Cooking demos where we can “learn to make Sushi”. She loves to cook and is getting over her kid cookbooks. I love the idea of these demonstrations sometimes seeing something being done is better than reading the directions in a cookbook.

    I am rather excited about shedding the all educational, practical, useful, gift giving of my loving, caring but very pragmatic parenting. I am also glad that my kiddo is interested in something that is more about the fun than the serious.

    Car, I am doing the digital picture frame for my folks. I am awful about sending pictures of the kids to anyone. I figure we can reload this thing once a year. I have solicited digital pictures from family and friends. It should be fun to put this together.

  20. My mother is getting a “book” I am writing (and “publishing” with my HP printer) containing a poem/snippet/meditationy whatsit for every day of Advent. Ever since I wrote an essay on Advent (to show up my seminary-trained unhusband, but that’s another story) back in 2004, she’s been asking me for it every. single. year. So now she gets it, and a bunch of others too.

    My unhusband, meanwhile, is getting a Sherlock Holmes action figure. Hee!

  21. I got my partner a bike (Craigstlist FTW!) and a new Stratego set.

    I got my sister a book about prominent female journalists.

    Still deciding what to do for my mom and my assorted relatives. *thinks*

  22. Plus, since we always use our digital camera and they don’t use the computer much, there’s not much way to get photos to them.
    The picture frame is a good idea, but it really isn’t that hard to send prints to folks. You can upload your pics to a site like the Kodak gallery, and then order prints to be picked up at a store near your in-laws. Future refence and all.

  23. I love Christmas shopping. It’s the one time of the year my family gets really gifty. Otherwise, like, we give each other stuff and we don’t wrap it or we don’t give it on the “right” day, which is all cool with me, but sometimes it is fun to open something all wrapped up.

    My gift list:

    Mom: Ornament with pictures of my grandparents on it (made by someone on etsy), jewelry box, nightgown, perfume.

    Dad: Scarf (I’m crocheting it so I better hurry my ass up), weatherproof fleece hood/facemask thing, books.

    Sis: A necklace and a chotchky from the play ‘Wicked,’ two tiny dolls: one of Anne Boleyn and the other of Henry VIII (she’s a budding Tudor historian), and all the seasons of “House.” And possibly something else, but I haven’t decided what.

    BFF: I made her a blanket, which is almost finished. Also got her a nice coat I saw on sale for a ridiculously low price, and three seasons of “Sex & the City” which were also on sale for a ridiculously low price. And a handmade soap.

  24. My brother is getting a DVD of one of his all time favorite films, Highway 61, which just recently was released on DVD. Nice!

    My next door neighbor and I went shopping together a while ago and she said wistfully that she would really love some purple ball ornaments for her Christmas tree, but couldn’t find any. Lo and behold, a couple days ago I found a tube of a dozen Christmas balls in varying shades of purple for four bucks! Norma will get balls for Christmas, while her husband and kids will share a big batch of homemade cookies or brownies. Yum.

    The friends who will appreciate it will receive lace butterfly ornaments I’m making. They’re a combination of copper wire, silk thread, and seed beads. The great thing about them? It takes me about three hours apiece from winding the thread on the bobbins to unpinning the piece from the pillow.

    But a lot of people will be getting odd trinkets or homemade baked goods.

    Oh, and a couple I know who recently got engaged may well be given a copy of iDo: Planning Your Wedding Using Nothing But Net, a book I highly recommend and not just because it was written by Never teh Bride who writes Manolo for the Brides during the week. Not only am I supporting a partner in crime, I’m also passing along a LOT of good advice.

  25. If I were remotely crafty in anything, I would make things; the ideas so many folks here are working on sound fabulous! I’m doing donations “in honor of” most of my family to local food banks.

  26. Liberalandproud, refence is too a word. It’s when you fenced something once, but it wasn’t high enough, so you refence it.

    I’m knitting socks for Mr. Buttercup, my daughters, and my mom. And my uncle, who helped me ten million times when I was stuck at home rehabbing. Aunts are getting handspun/handknitted face cloths with some nice soaps I picked up at a craft fair.

    I don’t know what my mom’s real present is since I just got my credit yanked at Wards and JCP. Effing recession. I made all my payments on time, but I have a bankruptcy in the past and they decided, in their infinite wisdom, that I was suddenly not credit-worthy.

    Got my elder daughter a GPS unit and a DVD player. Her DVD player has been broken for some time, and the GPS is because she’s always calling me asking how to get from here to there. She does a lot of charity and church stuff so she’ll find it useful, I hope.

    Younger daughter is getting a laptop. She’s going to flip her lid. It’s a joint present from me, Mr. Buttercup, my mom, and her big sister. We got a great deal on it but it was by far the most expensive thing I ever bought one of my kids.

    Mr Buttercup and I decided this year to just fill each other’s stockings because we’re too broke to go in for big splashy presents for each other this year. I’m still recovering from being off work for six months.

  27. Can I throw myself on your mercies and ask for advice?
    My college roommate is someone who I catch up with maybe once a year, but when we do we’re always soul-bonded the moment we start up again. She is honestly one of my closest people ever. Her brother just found out that one of his children, who has been terribly sick since birth and trying to be diagnosed with something the whole time, has a metabolic disorder and probably only 6 months left to live (he’s 3). There’s really nothing I can do for any of them, being many states away.
    She and I both love Madeline L’Engle, and I was thinking of getting her a boxed set for Christmas. However, I can’t decide if this is kind of a tribute or so macabre I’m terrible for even thinking of it. For those not familiar with her books, one centers around a boy with a metabolic disorder of his mitochondria that saps him of his strength, and then they overcome because it’s really a good/evil struggle (hard to explain). Anyway, that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news because the nephew’s condition is almost exactly that, only for real. I can’t figure out if giving her the books would be uplifting because it reinforces the ultimate good spiritual things she believes in anyway (the equivalent of “everything in life is beautiful and works out for good”) or if it’s cruel because in the book, the boy lives, and they aren’t going to have that happy ending. She has read them before; it would be more of a collector’s set.

    Or maybe I should just get her a gift certificate to a restaurant. I don’t know. Anybody want to tackle this one?

    Amy: DSs are so much fun. I keep wanting to get Cooking Mama but haven’t yet. Another good nonviolent one is Elite Beat Agents. I hate most video games, but I can’t put it down.

    earlgreyrooibos: Stratego! I used to play that at my grandparent’s house all the time. :)

    liberalandproud: I knew you could have copies printed, but I didn’t know it could be done local to them. That’s a good idea.

  28. Oh, Car, that’s a tough one. If it were me, I’d knit her a big warm “prayer” shawl. I don’t really do the praying thing but I put intention into them when I’m making them-love, hugs, warmth, comfort, etc. I made one for my best friend when she had brain cancer and it brought her a lot of comfort. If not, maybe ask her what you can do for her. Give her a personal gift certificate for a lunch, dinner, visit, movie with you, or just some time together that you can talk and enjoy each other’s company.

  29. I’m having a hard time with gifts this year. Every time I come up with the perfect gift idea for someone, an equally perfect roadblock to getting it for them arises, so I’m pretty much back to square one. (Example: I wanted to get a gift certificate for my parents to one of their favorite restaurants. I called the place. They said sure, come on in and get it! Except I live 2000 miles away and no, they can’t mail it. Start over.)

    It doesn’t help that no one seems to want anything, or the few things they want are way out of the budget this year. And I admit that’s true for me, too.

    My husband and I agreed that we’re going to buy a joint gift for ourselves when they go on sale (hopefully!) after Christmas, and just exchange smaller gifts on the day. But even that’s been going awry – things like shipping coming to 50% of the item’s price which throws it out of the realm of possibility.

    And people wonder why I turn into such a Scrooge.

  30. My favorite gift choice has a long backstory, but I think it’s one Shapelings will appreciate.

    Abou, geez, I don’t know, 20 years ago, my father-in-law, call him Bill, was in therapy. The therapist, trying to get him to get in touch with his own desires, asks, “Bill, if you had a million dollars and could do anything you wanted, what you would do?”

    Very thoughtfully, and dreamily, he replies, “I’d have a thick, creamy milkshake every single day.”

    “Wow” says the therapist gently, “you’d have to be a *really* rich guy to have a MILKSHAKE every single day.”

    So what did we get Bill for Christmas?

    A milkshake mixer.

  31. Car,
    I think if your friend is a fan of L’Engle, she’s bound (book pun?) to appreciate the gift of the set and recognize the intention behind it. I also like the idea of giving her permission to ask for help/comfort. We often need to be given permission for that sort of thing, which is crazy, but what can you do?

  32. I’m crafting everything this year. Knitting scarves for folks in cold climates (because you really need more than one when you wear them every day) and I’m attempting to sew the coolest fabric laptop covers for some recipiants. It sounds strange but they actually really look nice and almost everyone I know ends up keeping their laptop in the living room next to the couch or a chair for convenience. Why not make them look good so they don’t HAVE to get put away? http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/products/patterns_display.php?id=38

    My best, and most appreciated gifts were last year though. Everyone got a set of Envirosax and a Trader Joe’s gift card. If I had more money this year I would do it again.

  33. I’m pretty proud of the present I’m getting for my sister this year. She just had a baby, and I’ve got some adorable baby things from Etsy for him, but for her I got a gift certificate to a good local children’s photographer. It’s something I know she doesn’t have the money for and would never think of, and I think (hope) she’ll love it.

    I wish I could do more handmade things for my friends/family. I run a small craft business and in the past have made (very nice and would-be-expensive-at-retail) presents for them, but the reaction was pretty disappointing, so I’ve mostly resorted to storebought things again.

  34. About the books, one more vote for it will be fine. It’s not like it would be reminding her of something she isn’t thinking about anyway, and I’m sure she would recognize the good intentions. If she’s read them before, she knows not to read that particular book if she thinks it will be too much right then.

    You could always be safe and get her something else by L’Engle, like the Austin family series?

    Handmade gift idea: last year, I made Christmas spice fudge (flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and ginger) for a lot of people. It was a great hit and it’s a fairly cheap and easy project. I will definitely make them again this year.

  35. caffeine, I feel you. That’s why I don’t knit huge projects for my boyfriend. He wouldn’t appreciate all the effort that went into them and then I’d get pissy and… ugh.

    It’s too bad your family doesn’t appreciate hand made crafts, but what are you gonna do?

  36. Most people on my list are getting homemade jams, salsas, and pickles. My mom is getting home-dried tomatoes, after she kept dropping hints that the little jar I put them in last year was very pretty but you know, they make bigger jars! *grin* I’m going shopping on Sunday to acquire earring backs to make claw earrings for my brother. I helped a friend slaughter her chickens, for which I got to take home a chicken. I sterilized the claws and I think they will make lovely trophy earrings. (Seriously, chickens? Not that far from dinosaurs. These roosters had HUGE FEET. With BIG SHARP CLAWS.) My brother is in the circus, so I think he will appreciate them.

  37. holls, how do you make cranberry vodka? Did you just flavor it yourself or did you actually make the liquor.

    car, the gift sounds fine, but I mostly wanted to say how my heart breaks for your friend’s brother’s family. I have a 4 y.o. and the thought strikes terror into my heart. I’ll be praying for them.

  38. i admit, i’m not overly inspired this year. i bought my parents a membership (incl. 6-bottle gift certificate) from a wine co-op here in Canada. Sibs mostly get books. partner and i decided to do stockings this year, but i’ve got him a bunch of cool things (silver superman ring to replace the one he lost; macro lenses for camera).

    Actually my best gift idea this year is one i *asked* for rather than am giving: my brother is uber knowledgeable about music, so i asked him for a mix or two…he offered me a 1 GB USB key full of music. I can’t wait!!

  39. Two years ago I moved halfway across the country, right before Christmas. I was a little low on money and time, so I made people cookies, bread, and olive oil. I’m planning on doing this again this year, but periodically worry that it looks cheap. I’m trying to add little things, plus enough bread and cookies to make it not look cheap.

    Last year I made art kits for my two oldest nieces and nephews. They were a hit, so they’re getting them again. I just throw in markers, chalk, construction paper, glue, pipe cleaners, etc. I figure they’ll appreciate them after the excitement of Christmas.

  40. I’m getting my tympani-playing friend a set of titanium cufflinks because he doesn’t like the way the gold and onyx ones weigh down his shirt and get in the way of drumming.

    I’m making a friend who doesn’t like the cold a hat and scarf out of sock-weight alpaca yarn in a pattern that had the tympani-player hinting that he’d like something like that some time.

    I will be visiting my family in mid-January this year, so I may hold off on gifts until after Christmas, in part in hopes of discounts, but more because I’m hoping their gifts to each other inspire ideas for gifts from me, or to give me some time to make something.

  41. pixiebell620: I can guarantee anyone who knows how the economy is and how much work goes into making something by hand will appreciate the gifts. It might be ‘cheap’, but labor and love and affection were put into those gifts. If somebody can’t see that, I don’t think they really even deserve a gift :/
    Don’t try to over do yourself, either. My family bakes around 400 cookies every year two days before Christmas that we give out to family (which all manage to live within a 5 mile radius, so gift giving is usually for the children) so I know what it’s like. And bread is even harder.
    Just have a Happy Christmas.

  42. I knit my hubby a couple of hats and neckwarmers and I’m working on a couple more pairs of super warm slipper socks for him as soon as I get more yarn. He got me two new cable needles so I could try doing 2 socks at once, which I haven’t mastered yet. I’m also supposed to get a new hard drive soon so I can get my own computer back.

  43. Oh, if only I knew! I don’t even do holiday gifts for most people (though I’m a champion of buying things and forgetting to give them). But I like to get gifts for a few of Dan’s relatives, because we celebrate Christmas with them. Last year I had some great inspirations, like we got his puzzle-loving grandma a custom puzzle with a picture of Dan and his mom and sister. This year I got nothin’. The only thing I know is I’m getting one of his cousins some Wayside School books, and even that was someone else’s idea.

  44. I’m doing the documentation for my husband’s open source programming projects. He knows its a labour of love.

  45. @ eucritta:
    Crocheted octopus cat toys!? I hope you’re one of my close friends but I don’t realize it, because that sounds awesome! My kitties would luff!

  46. OMG, you women are so creative and crafty! My presents sound boring and utilitarian now. DH is getting clothes and computer games/parts. My mom is getting theatre tickets. My BFF is getting theatre tickets, and an IOU for dinner beforehand. Grandparents and sister are getting gift cards.
    EVERYONE’S getting handmade cards, though!

  47. My family is so hard to shop for. My brother buys what he wants when he wants it, and my dad’s the same way and he has ridiculously eclectic tastes. And any time you ask Mom what she wants, whether it’s a birthday or Christmas or Mother’s Day or anything, the answer is always the same: earrings. Argh. My sister, at least, is getting books. She’s been obsessed with Twilight, so I’m going to get her some YA fantasy-ish stuff with less squicky gender politics. Fewer undead stalker boyfriends, something like that. If anybody has suggestions on that front, by the way, I’m all ears.

  48. I’ve barely started gift shopping, but I am kinda proud of the inspiration to get my little brother (who’s gotten really into Buffy recently) the first trade paperback of Season 8. And I got my dad a Captain Hammer t-shirt, because he made it clear that he REALLY REALLY wanted one! I am such a good influence on my family.

    I always get my sister books, and I’m constantly trying to one-up my past gifts to her… for her last birthday she got a book of Pablo Neruda poems in English and Spanish, which she loved. This year it’s a poetry collection from a spoken word tour that I know she wanted to see, but wasn’t able to. I think she’s going to be excited.

    I’m a little stumped on what to get the other brother. And my mom… I have no freaking idea. She’s insanely hard to shop for because she’s super picky about everything. But I have a few more weeks for inspiration to strike.

  49. I’m getting a couple of paintings that I did in art class framed and I’m giving them to my aunt and my mom.

  50. Oh, and Nomie, I haven’t read much YA fantasy lately, but one of the books I remember reading was something called “Singing the Dogstar Blues” which is more sci-fi than fantasy, but there are no stalker boyfriends, just an alien that the main character Joss has to help out.

  51. I am going on a mad-awesome-fun (really, my fav part of the season) baking cookies spree this weekend. Just need to go gets more butter and stuffs so I can start…have to pick up the kitchen a bit before that though so I really need to get cracking today!

    People get packs of homemade soft and chewy cookeies: Cinnamon sugar, chocolate chip, spritz in the shape of little christmas trees with sprinkles, peanut butter with chocolate kisses in the center. I have a huge day of massive baking and cookie cooling and then try to pack more cookies for each person into containers than will fit and try again to figure out ways to ship them abroad without crumbs arriving instead of whole cookies. Yay bubble wrap!

    My brother will be getting rolls of quarters and homemade blank cards with stamped envelopes to use. A few giftcards for the folks and warm earmuffy type thing for the hubby :)

  52. She’s been obsessed with Twilight, so I’m going to get her some YA fantasy-ish stuff with less squicky gender politics. Fewer undead stalker boyfriends, something like that. If anybody has suggestions on that front, by the way, I’m all ears.

    Nomie, have you run across any of Scott Westerfield’s stuff? I think his Midnighters series is what Twilight should be (new girl moves to a small town where there’s an unusual group of kids but no undead stalker boyfriends).

    Tamora Pierce is always wonderful too.

  53. I am actually excited about some of my gifts this year! I am giving my mom and sister and grandma and my husbands mom, stepmom and grandma photo calendars I created and ordered from Vista Prints and I am way excited. It fits the criteria: useable, not clutter, interesting, different, low-cost. It’s pictures of my kid and my nephew. Yay!

  54. YA fantasy-Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books. The Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith. HIGHLY recommended. Probably as un-twilight as you can get.

  55. I knit all my gifts, and this year I’m doing–or rather, have done–miniature stocking ornaments for friends and family. They are quick, they are adorable, it’s cheap to make a whole bunch of them and nobody doesn’t love a tiny stocking. I’m planning to put those mini candy canes in them–one stocking per household, one candy cane per household member. Cute and fun.

  56. A.Sarah,
    20 dried (nothing but cranberry) cranberries in a medium sized vodka bottle for at least 2 weeks. Remove the cranberries (they get gross and tasteless, I string them on thread for easy removal), but the vodka naturally turns BRIGHT fuchsia.
    Easy and delicious. Last year we did the same with hot organic peppers from the farmer’s market that we dried.

  57. A Sarah – a friend of mine does sour cherries in vodka. Have to leave for at least 6 weeks. She puts a spice blend she will not divulge in there as well, but just the soaked cherries are to die for. The only problem is how easy it is to eat a bunch of them without realizing how much alcohol you just consumed…

  58. I had a friend who made bacon-infused vodka. You leave a stick of bacon in vodka for a week or two, then stick it in the freezer to freeze and strain out the bacon fat. Apparently it tastes pretty foul on its own, but I still hold it would be a good homemade gift for a bacon lover.

  59. Nomie, have you run across any of Scott Westerfield’s stuff? I think his Midnighters series is what Twilight should be

    I was just eyeing up Uglies as the Twilight antidote for my cousin! Will check out Midnighters too.

  60. holls, thanks!! I may try that. I think we’re getting a bunch of nice liquor from my parents for Christmas, so I may soon have the opportunity.

    I’m so impressed at all of you. I got people crap from Target and Hobby Lobby.

  61. Nomie — I’d recommend Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen). Vaguely steampunk fantasy including nifty undead, without creepy gender politics.

  62. holls, i am totally trying out your cranberry vodka idea! if i use small bottles, would half the amount of dried cranberries?

  63. After reading all the replies, I wish I was a knitter. I can, however, cook & bake, so everyone’s getting homemade shortbread and granola this year.

    That cranberry vodka idea is fantastic. Perhaps I’ll try to work that into my gift plans.

  64. The gift I’m getting the most enjoyment out of this year is the collection of homemade plushie ornaments I’m sewing for family. Yeah, they suck big time. I can basically do a few simple shapes… all the Christmas shapes I tried all came out looking like mutant germs. We hung those on our own tree, naturally!

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