Friday, May 8, 2009

A Gift Giver's Nightmare

Heather here and I'll be honest, I struggled with coming up with a topic for today's post. Obviously it is Friday so SOME of the pressure is removed as I get to hand the reigns over to you but...I still need to set the framework. It seemed that we had a tone this week that tied in with gift giving with Cheryl's fun card idea, Katie's pot full of summer fun (we are waiting on pins and needles to learn what punch line she used) and of course Claudia's "You're one hot teacher" idea for Cinco de Mayo. While it makes sense to do another bit on gift giving it feels a little redundant and not living up to the idea of a NEW creative idea a day to go straight "gift ideas" on this Friday. As I literally and figuratively "slept on it" today's blog became a little bit about self disclosure on my part.

You see...this week has made me realize something about myself that I'm a little afraid to admit. A few weeks ago Katie introduced us to Love Languages and it was shared that mine was "service" add that to the fact that I am frugal (to a fault) and it becomes pretty hard to buy for me. Take for instance Mother's Day...last weekend in an effort to dull the pain of our husband's work schedule Claudia and I made a trip to the Brighton Jewelry store, we searched the racks and I found what I "thought" was the perfect Mother's Day gift for myself. A fun cuff bracelet that was around $50...not too expensive but more than I would EVER spend on myself. Fast forward to last night when Claudia, Richard and I are sitting around talking about what a great husband Matt Struble is for writing that amazing letter about Cristine. That turned our thoughts to Mother's Day gifts yet again and I mentioned that I was probably forgoing the Mother's Day gift this year so that we could put extra money towards my Mom's gift (a flight to Dallas for a visit this summer). Claudia's jaw fell to the floor as she reeled that I had found the "perfect gift" and then just decided never mind. Why?!? Because I'm far to practical to see the benefit of spending $50 for something as unnecessary as a silver cuff bracelet. It isn't that I don't like accessories, or that I don't think they look fantastic on people but for me?!? Nah!
I'm the same way about flowers, shoes, clothes, whatever....unless I NEED the item I feel like it is a total waste.

So my realization? I am the gift givers nightmare...what is the delicate line between practical and inconsiderate?
Most women would balk at their husband giving them an iron for their, bring it on. The same goes for vacuum cleaners, pots and pans, or anything practical that I NEED so that I don't have to spend the money on the item otherwise.

So in honor of the fact that my poor husband has to figure out my gift giving needs for Mother's Day in two days and the fact that we have a slew of gift giving events in the near future with Graduations (yay Cassie P and Lindsay Marie!!!), Mother's Day, Father's Day, June wedding season and just the end of the school year let our community at highlowaha help you with your gift giving nightmare. Give us the details of that person you can never figure out how to buy for and we'll help you come up with something that is creative but totally them.

But of course, I couldn't let the day end without a few gift giving suggestions of my own.
First this is the link to a fun video that was made for me for Mother's Day (a gift I loved because it was FREE) that I think our readership will enjoy. Watch it to the end so you can send it out to all the Mother's in your life.

And here are the Teacher Appreciation gifts that Claudia and I pulled together for Jack, Lily and Matthew's teachers. The envelope contains a gift certificate for a pedicure at a salon just around the corner from daycare and we pulled it together with the flip flops and fun ribbon...

Signing off until tomorrow...


Cheryl said...

Oh dear, Heather... I will come back to you later and BTW... thanks for my video yesterday. Too funny.


Now, where's my coffee?

lindsaymarie said...

My dad and stepmom are pretty hard to buy for, they are like you, Heather, in that they really like practical gifts and don't like to have a lot of money spent on them, especially by my sister and I because they know we're always broke. For the past few years we've made donations to different organizations in their honor and they LOVE that.

ps - I'm sorry I've been absent! The end of the semester crunch, plus a spontaneous trip last week have made life very hectic! I finished my last final yesterday, so I'm back now. And Claudia - I got my Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth cards! Thank you!!

Katie K said...

My mom is a lot like you, Heather. She would rather have something practical, than another thing she doesn't really need. For her, I've always found it hard to just go to a store and pick something out for her because she never does that for herself. Heck, the times that someone has gotten her a gift card for a massage or a pedicure, it takes a year before she uses it because she just doesn't "need" that kind of stuff. So, for me, I've always just tried to give her a gift, from my heart, and invested more time into it than money. For example, one year I de coupaged a picture frame and put a collage of photos of myself and my brothers, this year for Christmas I organized all of her recipes and typed them up into a "cookbook" for her, etc.

Well, I'm off to check out residents today and then to watch my friends graduate tonight. For those of you who met her at Taste of USA, my friend Kristen graduates with her Master's degree tonight! Congrats, Kristen!

Anonymous said...

Just a note to ask if anyone caught Michael J. Foxes show? The whole time I watched it I thought of this blog and what it stands for.
He seeks to explain the surge of optimism in america despite the tough times.
Was a great show!

Peggy said...

My dh is very hard to buy for. Although into golf, reading and sports... for some 20+ years with his birthday being Dec 19... I have such difficulty being unique and spontaneous for the Christmas birthday boy.

Yes, I've bought him golf balls, but he likes a special brand that to me a once a year golfer... I can't imagine the cost for a little white whacking ball!

Go vote!

No, I didn't watch Michael J. Fox... is it a reality show? Or was it just a special?

Kat said...

My dad is impossible to buy for! What makes him even more difficult is that his birthday and father's Day both fall in June! He loves to ride his motorcycle, watch movies, and relax outside. I have such a hard time showing him (with gifts) how much I appreciate him.

Lindsay Marie- What about cooking them a meal as a gift? You and your sister could make a fancy dinner and maybe get a bottle of wine.

Anon- I did see that show! I was so inspired by the attitudes of the people that were shown.

Kat said...

Oh, Katie, my mom is the same way with gift certificates! She isn't hard to shop for in general, but if we get her a service type gift (like a massage) we have to actually take her to get it done. Otherwise, she will just put it off since she is usually so busy.

eknoxuk said...

That's me too Heather! Mike is having a hard time too because my birthday was last week and now Mother's Day this week. I let him off the hook and asked that we just have a date night. That's typically what I do, which goes with my love language-time together. Mike must have asked me 10 times to drop hints for something I want, but I just couldn't think of anything I needed! We've laughed before because part of what makes a present better is when Mike tells me how much money he saved on it!

Cheryl said...

I will agree that parents are the hardest to buy for because they don't usually need anything. I think my mom is usually easier to buy for than my dad because I can pick out something that she wouldn't pick out for herself. A cute pair of PJ's, some stationary or even a set of kitchen towels. My dad- forget it! He's really picky, too. Shirts- two chest pockets. Food- no rice or pasta and no cooked tomatoes... hunting gifts- he already has it.

As for me... I think I'm the easiest person to buy for. Something crafty, something for the kitchen, baubles for my ears or neck or wrist, techy gifts. I'm a sucker for the sentimental gift that shows thought was put into it. But don't you dare throw in an iron or vaccum. Hmm... no wonder I don't have a man.

This is getting lengthy with no point.

Lindsay~ welcome back. Glad you made it through the semester.

Did not catch the Michael Fox show... Ray & I were watching Survivor & Deja vu with Denzel Washington.

Katie K said...

Oh and the punch-line I ended up going with was....

You were Pot, Pot, Pot this year! Have a Sunsational Summer!

Thanks again for all of your ideas!

Cheryl said...

HA HA KATIE! Did you go out and buy brownie pans?

lindsaymarie said...

Kat - that is a great idea, my stepmom is a great cook and my dad loves to eat, and they both really love wine. Maybe we could do that for father's day... thanks so much for the idea!

Heather said...

I like the idea of dinner and wine for parents...dinner or a date night...that is something I can have to eat afterall!

For Peggy's DH what about a new golf shirt, a golf cart rental, or better yet a day on the green with YOU!

Katie for your Mom...what about a day in Cincinnati with you while you are in town?

Kat what about some type of Chopper experience or the DVD set for Orange County Choppers?

Cheryl---HMMM your Dad seems like an enigma...would something from the boys seem better than something from you? I know that is the case with Bal's parents!

Everybody help these folks out with good ideas for their Gift Giving Nightmare

Anonymous said...

LOVE the flip flops. I also voted.

I am like you, Heather. Or at least I think I am. But I LOVE to give presents. I get a thrill out of remembering a small tidbit of info for a year only to try to surprise someone. DH is a bit of wet blanket and claims he is never surprised. Though I work really hard to make sure he is surprise. I'm still trying.

I'm not looking forward to Mother's Day for many reasons.

Cristine said...

Peggy - if your DH is a golf lover try Boogies (there's one in Oswego). I don't know if there's one near you or try Top Golf, which is in Schamburg. These are indoor golf venues. The guys get to play and eat and when it's snowing they can still play golf - great for IL. Matt really likes them.
As for gifts - when I don't know what to do - gift card. Yes, it's boring, but who can't use a little cash in their pockets.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Claudia said...

Heather, here's the nice thing... even though you are a self-proclaimed pain to buy gifts for... you are on fire with ideas today!!!

Hi everyone. Claudia here. Finally out of a morning meeting that lasted three hours!

Let's see... the hardest person for me to buy a gift for is probably my dad. My dad was professor so when I was a kid my mom frequently coached me into getting him red and black pens (his favorite), black combs for his jacket pocket, and nail clippers. He also loves black licorice and key lime pie, so sometimes that was my gift solution (a couple of years ago, Richard and I sent my dad a Key lime pie from the Florida Keys!).

As for me... I'm easy to purchase a gift for and my list reads a lot like Cheryl's (but, maybe without the techy tools and in with coffee and books).

It's Friday, the sun is shining, Lindsay Marie (who we have missed) is back, and Anonymous - whoever you are - made a connection between our blog and a surge of optimism! LIFE IS GOOD!!!

Tera said...

I'm struggling today. I can't focus long enough to read the post or the comments for some reason. I def. woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe a nap will do me some good!

Happy Friday, all!

Anonymous said...

TEra - get a nap and check back in...

Cheryl said...

You know what I usually do for my Dad? Go wander around Cabella's until I find something that may or may not be suitable... I swear he's the pickiest man on Earth!

Peggy said...

**Long** Thanks Heather and Cristine for the golf suggestions! I appreciate them... my problem is finding him something unique and special for both birthday & Christmas separate, but then together` in the winter we're not thinking golf... and his tastes are not cheap. Oswega is about 70 miles south of us!

For me, like Cheryl... I like anything and everything...scented candles, bath & bodyworks (anything), special & unique serving dishes, knick knacks... like a funny chicken that sits on my shelf (he's looking at me right now) bakeware, guest towels, fun slippers.... & gift cards.

I really like giving gifts like Robin's idea... picking up on something about the person and then combining little things:

Plant lover: packets of seeds in a watering can, gardening gloves and a gift card to the garden center.

Wine lover: bottle of tasteful wine in a small picnic basket from Pier 1, fresh bread and cheese with a gift card to the liquor store.

Girly girl: basket with hand lotion and a rag mag with a gift card for a manicure.

Student: Stamps, envelopes, address book, change for the laundramat... gift cards to Mc'Ds, Subway, gas card.

Anniversary: Dinner and a movie gift card and a picture frame with your lovely face.

Chef: Mixing bowl, apron, funky mix from TJ Maxx, gift card to a restaurant if it doesn't work out!

Cardlover: Unique handmade creative greeting cards from prdesigns ~wink~

It's all about the theme and packaging!