Friday, November 27, 2009

The Fairy Godmother Wands You!

Gift Ideas. Last year, I wrote a post about my gift for gifts called The Fairy Godmother. I invited readers to Comment and share some of their best gift ideas, too. The results were fabulous! Many of you said the exchange sparked ideas for your holiday shopping lists. We could all use a little help this time of year. I’ve decided to invite my Fairy Godmother persona back for another visit—to make her magic dust and gift tips an annual feature. VoilĂ ! Here are this year’s flicks from the Godmom’s Gift Wand:

(SPOILER ALERT! If you are someone who normally gets a holiday gift from me, don’t look, as I may be talking about the gift you haven’t gotten yet this year.)

eBaybe Basket - Our niece has recently become a passionate eBay shopper. Inexpensive baskets make the base for many of my gifts. After the season last year, I got three nesting holiday baskets in green and red for next to nothing. I used the medium-sized one for this collection of goodies: a nifty, electronic kitchen timer for making sure she doesn’t miss those last-minute bids; a pound of Bad Ass Coffee, a company whose name and donkey logo send the right message about being an online shopper in stubborn pursuit of winning the latest auction; and an eBay gift card. I lined the basket with raffia style “grass” and used my computer to create a tag that reads eBaybe Basket.

A Trip Down Under – Some of our relatives can’t travel much anymore due to limited mobility. I figured out a way to send them to Australia, and they only have to go 10 miles from home to get there—no airport security, three-ounce jar limitations for carry-on, and no baggage fees. In fact, no baggage at all except an appetite! I found a darling little stuffed kangaroo at Barnes & Noble online. His pouch is perfect for fitting a gift card to Outback Steakhouse, that yummy Aussie-themed restaurant. I made a special card modeled after an Australian postcard, touting the features of this trip Down Under, no passport needed.

Relief for the Older Relative Who Has Everything - One of my relatives is a challenge for being of a certain age where he has most everything he wants or needs. Also, he travels from across the country to be with us for the holidays. Anything I get him needs to pack well for the return trip. At my local CVS Pharmacy, I stumbled across Sarah Peyton’s Hot & Cold Personal Spa Set. Aside from sounding like the name of my blog, it has soft wraps with therapeutic gel inserts than can be heated or cooled for the aches and pains that invariably go with the turf of an octogenarian—or a someone often much younger. (Me!)

Peace on Earth Bracelets - I love that the peace sign is back! It’s that time of year when we talk most about Peace on Earth. I found wood bead bracelets at Mixed Bag, one of my favorite local boutiques, that have tiny, sterling silver peace sign charms on them. They are perfect for two of my friends, who are as dedicated as I am to being part of the Peace. One of the most beautiful compliments I ever received was from my late, great friend Garry. Writing about me, he said, “She’s all about peace on the planet.” I love recognizing sister peacekeepers in such a lovely way! (Aside to the astro-savvy: These two friends and I, as a trio, call ourselves The Venus Girls for having the planet Venus in a prominent in our charts. If someone you know is a Venus Girl—especially if she’s a Libra or Taurus—two of their big loves are peace and beauty, and this bracelet covers them both.)

Coffee Lover - Last year I focused on another love of my eBaybe niece—Starbucks. We have two credit cards where we accumulate points for purchases. They can be redeemed for gift cards. We often cash in our points for holiday gifts, as in this case. I bought a lovely reindeer gift box for $3 at Michaels, square and deep with the design both inside and out. I put in a gold mug. In the mug is the Starbucks gift card. Also in the gift box was frankincense and myrrh soap by Indigo Wild. The brand is Zum Bar, and it’s made from goat’s milk. I buy the soap at our local Natural Foods Co-op or Whole Foods. It smells divine! However, to unacscentuate that part of the gift till opening and so it doesn’t mingle with the smell of coffee with possibly strange results, I wrapped it in clear cellophane wrap. It sits in a bed of white sparkly “grass” that looks like snow. Behind the mug is a half-pound of Starbucks Christmas Blend in its shiny gold package. I created a bubble in Word and cut it out, so that the deer inside is thinking/saying: There is no greater gift than Love—followed by gold, frankincense, myrrh—and Starbucks!

• For the Runner on Your List - I gave my friend Wendy the book, Women Who Run by Shanti Sosienski. In interviews with numerous women, it explores why women run, what drives them, and what continues to spark their interest in the sport. Even before she pounded pavement, Wendy had some “tootsie trouble.” To help keep her feet in good running condition, I also gave her some new-fangled toe stretchers that can help realign the lower digits if you have any podiatry problems like hammer toes or bunions. While the running book and toe stretchers were Wendy’s gift last year, think of the possibilities for the runner in your life that could accompany a book about running: good padded socks like Thorlo’s, sweat or wrist bands, or iPod download gift cards to make the run both a walk and a concert in the park.

• Literary Mama - My friend Lucy is an excellent writer, but motherhood and working have put literary efforts on the back burner for her. However, she wants to take the pot out and stir it as often as she can. I got her the book, Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined by Seal Press. Mom-writers share the growth they’ve gained through motherhood. Writer’s Digest offered me a free gift subscription if I renewed early. I asked Lucy; she wanted it. This part of the gift wasn’t a surprise, but I asked them to start it with the January issue and bought her a single copy of the December issue to go with the book. It gave me something to present besides just a gift card and served as a preview and “teaser” till her subscription kicked in.

• For Your Favorite Travelers – Another great find for my uncle who travels from afar and around the world is the Travelon Leather ID and Boarding Pass Holder. It’s a fashionable, practical, hands-free “necklace” for your travel documents while doing the airport security jig. What’s more, it passes the true test of a great gift find. I want one!

• Seasonal Delights - Last year, for my sister in Pennsylvania, I put together a seasonal package with a tag that read, Open Before Christmas. Enjoy all season! Starting with a holiday tote bag I got for $4 at Barnes & Noble in a special seasonal promotion (they have them again this year), I started filling it with the darkly playful humor of one of my favorite memoir writers in his gut-buster, Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris. Also in the package were my favorite frankincense and myrrh soap and a Santa mug filled with packets of exotic hot chocolate blends. I got a kick just thinking of introducing my sister to David and his holiday antics. I could see her sitting in her house, sipping hot chocolate. I added a personally made card (MS Publisher). On the outside, it said Merry Sismas with a vintage boomer photo of the two of us at ages 12 and 13. I added a personal note to the sentiment: Having you for a sister makes it Christmas every day of the year! 

This last idea can be modified to fit any favorite friend or relative. Even the family curmudgeon might enjoy a copy of Scrooge, book or DVD. Add one of with those hilarious cloth gift sacks marked Naughty, containing licorice or other goodies as “lumps of coal.” I just bought a relative one of those cool money jars available at every other store this season. It has a digital gismo that counts your change as you put it in. Wouldn’t your favorite Scrooge enjoy counting his cash while everyone else revels? Oh, and don’t forget a set of earplugs so he can’t hear the carols. And one of those lapel buttons that says “Bah, Humbug!”

I hope this “conversation” has brought out your inner Fairy Godmother! Please have her visit the Comments with any ideas for this annual gift idea exchange.

Don’t forget, Google and your mouse are your best friends during this time of year. No crowds, no parking problems, no snarky shoppers or crabby clerks. However, you must stock a box cutter at home and recycle all the cardboard that will overflow as delivery trucks bring the holiday right to your door.

May your joy in giving catch fire and light the world this holiday season. Peace!


Photo credit: HOLIDAY © Lenta


Pop Art Diva said...

I loved the Outback idea - what a clever gift concept.

Did anyone mention making their own gifts? I personally love getting baked goods for Christmas since baking for one is too much work.

And any artists (like me) can create wonderful hand made gifts that cannot be purchased anywhere! I won't mention what I'm doing for gifts this year either but I will say they are one-of-a-kind Pop Art Diva originals, lol.

And you can create customized unique gifts at print on demand stores too - use your own photos, add your own text to a wonderful array of products. I even set up templates on my PopArtDiva Gift Gallery Zazzle store to make it easier for my visitors to do just that.

And you can create a one of a kind book at places like!

I love the idea of custom gifts that require a little bit more work that just handing over a credit card - when I get something that someone has put time into I know they care about me.

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Pop Art--and thanks for opening this year's Fairy Godmother comments! Last year, several folks talked about their homemade gifts. Great ideas all! Thanks for introducing me to print-on-demand products last year. I love your products I've purchased, and customizing gifts is something I truly enjoy. These are wonderful shares. Thank you for giving us Cool Insighters more to think about and ideas to shop with. That Australia idea could be used with any theme restaurant and "foreign" cuisine--trip to Italy, France, etc. Or they could be food baskets as a trip "abroad" with all the fixin's for pasta or the cuisine of choice.