PDA

View Full Version : The Holiday Gift Thread



Fruitbat
11-18-2015, 12:34 AM
I thought it would be fun to have a thread for ANYTHING to do with holiday gifts. Neat ideas, horrible or wonderful things you received, holiday shopping gripes, and so on.

I'll start with a neat idea. QVC has little microscopes that clip on to phones, a set of two for $20. So if you get bored at work or your relatives' homes, you can go about looking for interesting bacteria. I thought they'd make neat stocking stuffers.

http://www.qvc.com/CatalogSearch?langId=-1&storeId=10251&catalogId=10151&keyword=microscope+phone

Maryn
11-18-2015, 01:49 AM
I intend to buy as stocking stuffers these small lights that plug into a USB port and light the keyboard. It's something like this (http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Flexible-Light-Laptops-Notebooks/dp/B002WI8GG8) but cheesier and cheaper--but still really handy at times.

And I have added the best caramels in the entire world (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PieceandLovePieCo) to my wish list. If I get them, I will not be sharing.

Cliff Face
11-18-2015, 04:41 AM
I've already bought the majority of the Christmas presents for this year, but I'm stumped when it comes to dad and stepmum. Anyway, the things I'm gifting:

For mum: A nice scarf (idea courtesy of a friend) and 2 magazines about painting.
For nanna: A murder mystery novel and some sort of foodstuffs (chocolates, maybe?) that will be bought closer to the day.
For grandad: A nice bottle of wine and some gourmet nut snacks (to be bought closer to the day).
For sis: A nice bottle of wine and a book.
For sis's fiance: A gaming PC mousepad and a Boba Fett bobblehead.
For brother and his wife: A gift card (because they're interstate and I'm not paying exorbitant shipping).

Anyway, that leaves dad and stepmum, who happen to be living in a caravan right now while they travel round Australia. No freakin' clue what to get them... I did think of a compilation book of rules for various card games (like, the rules for 100 different card games or something) plus a couple nice decks, but I just could not find such a beast at all. So yes... No clue!

Southpaw
11-18-2015, 05:40 AM
Obviously, Cliff Face has not seen my post in the "Things I hate about November (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?312730-THINGS-I-HATE-ABOUT-NOVEMBER&p=9625307&viewfull=1#post9625307)" thread. :gaah

Brightdreamer
11-18-2015, 07:03 AM
Let's see... I ordered the usual photo calendars last weekend, so the aunt and uncle have that much coming to them. And my workshed currently has a snerkload of almost-finished armatures for the annual ornament blitz. (Another memorial-based one, unfortunately... that's two years in a row. Last year was Grandpa, this year was his sister. And I technically only need 7 ornaments, but I have 13 armatures out there, because every year at least one of the things goes wrong so I need backups... and when they don't go wrong, hey, extra ornaments for our tree.) My aunt's husband already compiled his list, so I got an item off that: a book on home cheesemaking. My aunt asked for one thing, but it's fairly pricey (a Roomba-type automatic vacuum cleaner), so it may be a group effort if we decide to do it. I'll probably get something chocolate-based for my father. No idea what to do for Mom and my sister, though...

juniper
11-22-2015, 10:10 PM
Last year we spent about the same amount on shipping as we did on the actual gifts. We live on the west coast of USA and most others live on east coast.

I like wrapping the presents myself and sending them off, but that's not going to happen this year. We'll probably shop online and have everything sent directly to recipients. Even paying extra for gift wrap would probably be cheaper than sending things myself.

We've now got 8 - nope - 9 grandkids so the parents of those don't get anything or just something small. Concentrate on the kids. And then our own siblings - my brother, BIL, SIL - and father-in-law.

A few days ago I came across the list of what I bought for last year - I'll probably work from that for this year.

Maze Runner
11-22-2015, 10:18 PM
Not to pander to the crowd, but I think books can be great gifts. They're fairly compact, fairly inexpensive, and if you nail it, offer entertainment and/or information untold. The problem, of course, is it's a pretty personal, subjective thing, so you have to know the person pretty well. I used to give CDs for the same reason, but not too many people listen to CDs anymore.

stormie
11-22-2015, 11:17 PM
Fun thread!

Here are some ideas:

Magazine subscription

Wine

Specialty olive oil

Wine

The HUGE box of Whitman's chocolates --a 2 pounder (it sells at KMart in NJ for $19.99)

Wine

William-Sonoma or Harry& David condiments that are different (and they have sale bins)

Wine

Shutterfly/Snapfish/etc. photo books (you can get coupon codes from Retailmenot.com )

Wine

Maze Runner
11-22-2015, 11:19 PM
hahahaha, I was thinking wine might be a good gift.

Maryn
11-22-2015, 11:31 PM
Be aware that it's illegal to ship wine into some states, though. Poor me, I have to buy my own.

My peers and I are starting to need these (http://www.sciplus.com/p/CLASSY-MAGNIFIERS_39365) or this (http://www.sciplus.com/p/BIG-4X-LOUPE_47886). I've given both in the past and probably will again. Very nice quality for the price, especially the second one, and useful to anybody who struggles with fine print.

stormie
11-22-2015, 11:36 PM
One year I gave my dad a very good, gold-frame magnifying glass. He loved it.

brainstorm77
11-23-2015, 12:19 AM
I buy gifts for the hubby and for everyone else it's gift-cards or money. I honestly don't know what to get for the other members in my family. Books are always a good gift though :)

Fruitbat
11-23-2015, 12:25 AM
I like to give magazine subscriptions, too, if I think I know someone's interests well enough.

Oops, now I see that was already mentioned.

MaryMumsy
11-23-2015, 02:56 AM
We really don't do gifts with anyone except my one BIL/SIL/nephew and my MIL. As most of the nieces and nephews got older, got married, had kids of their own...it just got to be too much. And when you don't know peoples' likes/dislikes etc, it makes it even harder.

Cliff: maybe a gift card for your Dad and step-Mum? Something they could use for eating out? I would imagine that cooking in a caravan is a challenge. To say nothing of having no space for 'things'.

MM

Cliff Face
11-23-2015, 04:58 AM
Yeah, I was leaning towards food-based gifts for dad and stepmum. It can't be alcohol, as dad isn't meant to drink anymore (too much iron in his blood). As for eating-out vouchers... I really don't know what to do with that. Like, the only places I know that you can give vouchers for are a collective of fine-dining sort of places, which generally have the kind of food dad and stepmum wouldn't care for too much. I dunno...

I think I'll have to ring dad and see if he'll even be nearby over Christmas. He's said in the past to not worry about getting him anything, which I've done for the past 2 years... But if he'll be local at the time, I think I'll get him (and stepmum) something anyway.

Introversion
11-23-2015, 05:34 AM
I mostly buy gift cards or give cash to family these days. Maybe one small thing (usually a book or movie) for each, so they have some "real" gift, but the remainder as "money".

It's not that it's too much effort to buy a real gift, it's that I really have very little idea of what most of them want or need. On the occasions when I've tried to get creative, especially with parents, it's usually not been a good idea. So I'd rather give them the ability to pick out what they really want.

And frankly, I myself would rather get gift-cards.

I know that probably seems a bit impersonal to some, but it seems to work well for our family.

jjdebenedictis
11-23-2015, 05:36 AM
My workplace got a 3D printer, and I was dying to try my hand at making gifts for family with it, but darn it, I got busy, and it takes time to create the files you use for the printing.

Wouldn't lithophanes (http://www.instructables.com/id/Litophanes-How-to-3D-Print-your-photos/)have been awesome, though? I could even have printed them with a frame and support, then wired in an LED and battery to turn them into a bedside lamp!

Lavern08
11-24-2015, 12:07 AM
I mostly buy gift cards - And frankly, I myself would rather get gift-cards.
Ditto! :)

Oh, and ixnay on the Fruitcake - For the love of all that is sacred and holy, please just DON'T! :ROFL:

Maze Runner
11-24-2015, 12:12 AM
Ditto! :)

Oh, and ixnay on the Fruitcake - For the love of all that is sacred and holy, please just DON'T! :ROFL:

God, I don't understand Fruitcakes.

stormie
11-24-2015, 12:37 AM
There's a great fruitcake made by the Trappist Monks (http://www.madeinoregon.com/Trappist_Abbey_Monastery_Fruitcake_1lb.html?utm_so urce=Froogle&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Froogle&gclid=COuykfSyp8kCFYL1HwodbN4FXg). 120 proof.

Good stuff.

jjdebenedictis
11-24-2015, 01:08 AM
There's a great fruitcake made by the Trappist Monks (http://www.madeinoregon.com/Trappist_Abbey_Monastery_Fruitcake_1lb.html?utm_so urce=Froogle&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Froogle&gclid=COuykfSyp8kCFYL1HwodbN4FXg). 120 proof.

Good stuff.Reminds me of a story where a mom found out one of her teenage sons kept raiding the brandy-drenched fruitcake.

Was it for the alcohol? No, it was because he was an avid backpacker and had discovered the fruitcake not only tasted better than power bars, it also didn't freeze because of all the booze in it!

Wye Pen
11-24-2015, 06:28 AM
What holiday are you talking about?

MaryMumsy
11-24-2015, 07:14 AM
What holiday are you talking about?

Any holiday you celebrate this time of year.

US Thanksgiving
Christmas
Hanukkah
Kwanzaa
New Year's
Winter solstice

Take your pick.

MM

Fruitbat
11-24-2015, 07:22 AM
Don't forget Festivus!

stormie
11-25-2015, 07:18 PM
Yep. More for me to celebrate!

Cliff Face
11-29-2015, 01:48 PM
Aha! So I finally spoke to dad, and he and stepmum will, in fact, be in town for Christmas. Not only that, but dad said they'll be moving into a house soon, rather than traveling all round Australia with the caravan. (They're keeping the caravan for short trips, though.) So this is a big game-changer! I'm no longer restricted by space/portability concerns for their gift. :)

I'm kind of tempted to get something (relatively cheap - I do have a budget, after all) that takes up an enormous amount of space, kind of as a symbolic, "Aha! We have room to move again!" Drawing a blank on something suitable, though... Ideas?

juniper
12-12-2015, 10:16 PM
I am celebrating this weekend! All shopping done except for one birthday present (stepson's is day after Christmas birthday) and that's just going to be a gift card to a gaming store.

And everything has been mailed off! I did end up shipping stuff to the east coast (I'm on west coast) but used the post office instead of UPS and it was all about $40, using the flat-rate priority boxes they have. Plus the boxes will be there early next week, and trackable.

So now the stress is gone. Husband and I don't really exchange gifts anymore, just do something fun. My birthday is also the day after Christmas and we're going to the Nutcracker Ballet. For Christmas he wants to see Star Wars and I want to go see local waterfalls. So that will be our gifts for us.

Lavern08
12-13-2015, 01:40 AM
I am celebrating this weekend! All shopping done except for one birthday present

And everything has been mailed off!

So now the stress is gone. Husband and I don't really exchange gifts anymore, just do something fun.
Brilliant!

Kylabelle
12-13-2015, 02:03 AM
I got mine all done too! I looked around on Amazon last night and to my delight found three items that are perfect for certain family members, each under five bucks. I ordered most gifts online, in fact, and now it's just waiting for them to arrive (I think they will be in time. If not, I can give a card with an I.O.U.inside to anyone whosegift is late arriving.

I have five people here who will likely gather on Christmas Eve, and then five people in N.C. who won't gather until the first of January. So I am in good shape.

KellyAssauer
12-13-2015, 02:04 AM
Winter solstice


That's the only one I celebrate.
Why ruin it with gifts?

Kylabelle
12-13-2015, 02:05 AM
Oh well, in my family it's a fun thing, and we all enjoy it. :)

DragonHeart
12-13-2015, 09:42 PM
Not to pander to the crowd, but I think books can be great gifts. They're fairly compact, fairly inexpensive, and if you nail it, offer entertainment and/or information untold. The problem, of course, is it's a pretty personal, subjective thing, so you have to know the person pretty well. I used to give CDs for the same reason, but not too many people listen to CDs anymore.

I love giving books as gifts, the problem is there are a lot of non-readers out there. I do make an effort to give my niece, nephew and youngest cousin books every year though, hopefully before school destroys any interest they might have in literature. My cousin is the oldest and reading above her grade level, which makes me happy. I got her the first Warrior Cats boxset, which I am 97.6% sure she will love. My nephew is only a year or so younger but not quite as advanced, he likes Dr. Suess so he's getting a boxset of those. My niece is only 2 so she gets the tickle monster book, complete with wearable monster hands for maximum amusement value.

My stepfather is the hardest person on the planet to shop for and a yearly source of frustration for me. If you could look up the most uninteresting man in the world you would find his picture. The only thing he reads is the newspaper, so no books or magazine subscriptions. I buy him useful things--like tools--he doesn't use them because then they'd "get dirty". He has no hobbies at all unless you count watching infomercials (with complete awareness that they are in fact infomercials) and John Wayne movies on TV Land. Has an enormous sweet tooth but elevated A1C levels, aka he's almost pre-diabetic, so no treats allowed even though he buys and eats them anyway. It is my mission in gifts to find this man a gd hobby so he a. has something to do other than sit in front of the TV and snack until he gives himself diabetes/a coronary from all the crap he eats and b. so I don't have to spend 6 months of the year racking my brain to come up with something that won't end up being a complete waste of money.

And yes, we are aware that he is most likely some form of depressive. I'd say it's complicated but it's really not; he simply refuses to acknowledge or seek treatment for any of his issues, physical or emotional. Can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

So in the meantime I continue my search to help him find meaning, or at least something that will bring him a little bit of interest; passion is too much to hope for at this point. This year's attempt is a model airplane. I spent hours researching one that would be decent quality, easy to assemble and not really require a lot of tools or anything else that might complicate things too much. The model is a P51 Mustang. I also made sure to buy the appropriate set of paint colors, and cementing glue in case he doesn't have any.

Anyway, shopping trevails aside, I am completely done shopping for this year and have been since last week. As you can probably tell, I pride myself on my gifting abilities. My favorite this year: PAX East tickets for my brother and nephew, who are both as into games as I am. My brother has never been and my nephew is finally old enough to be able to appreciate an event. Thinking about how psyched my brother is going to be about it makes me get super psyched about going myself! I go every year with some friends, which is how I got the idea to do this as a gift in the first place.

Of course I still have the dreaded gift wrapping marathon to do, bleh. Maybe I'll do that today and just get it over with.

Cliff Face
12-14-2015, 06:09 AM
I wrapped all my gifts on Saturday. Well, except for grandad's... I've gotten him a bottle of wine, but still have to buy some chocolate/nut treats to go with it, but I will simply place them in a gift bag, rather than wrap them, as he has Alzheimer's and struggles to unwrap things. As in, unwrapping something as simple as a book would take him about 5 minutes. So yeah - just a gift bag there.

Cliff Face
12-14-2015, 06:11 AM
Oh, and I did find something suitable for dad and stepmum. Or rather, multiple somethings that were completely unrelated to each other. I figure at least 1 of them will be a success, hopefully more.

Tazlima
12-14-2015, 08:05 AM
I actually thought of a good gift for my grandmother this year. She's particularly difficult to shop for because her mind is mostly gone. She can't focus enough to read anymore, or write letters (she used to love getting nice stationary every year).

However, she still enjoys a good puzzle, and she likes looking at family photos, so I had a nice group photo from my wedding turned into a puzzle. She'll be able to put it together, recognize herself, and hopefully figure out who some of the other people are from there. If she likes it, we may do the same thing with some of her other favorite photos.

If anyone else has a good gift idea for advanced Alzheimer's sufferers, I'd love other suggestions.

CassandraW
12-14-2015, 08:20 AM
I actually thought of a good gift for my grandmother this year. She's particularly difficult to shop for because her mind is mostly gone. She can't focus enough to read anymore, or write letters (she used to love getting nice stationary every year).

However, she still enjoys a good puzzle, and she likes looking at family photos, so I had a nice group photo from my wedding turned into a puzzle. She'll be able to put it together, recognize herself, and hopefully figure out who some of the other people are from there. If she likes it, we may do the same thing with some of her other favorite photos.

If anyone else has a good gift idea for advanced Alzheimer's sufferers, I'd love other suggestions.

Last year was my Dad's last Christmas. He was sliding rapidly into dementia. Here are the kind of gifts he still enjoyed in that last terrible year:

(1) music -- specifically, familiar music he loved and associated with happer days. My dad adored Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitgerald, and Miles Davis. I loaded a bunch of their music and some other favorite jazz and swing on an ipod and bought him a charging dock/speaker. You could set it up to play for hours (since controlling the iPod was not something he could manage anymore, nor was putting in CDs). If your grandmother gets agitated (as dementia patients sometimes do), this might calm her. It worked better than anything else for Dad.

(2) DVDs of his favorite old TV shows. Dad adored the old Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore shows. He got restless during most current shows (even those he'd liked when he was well). I got him boxed sets of both. I'd set up five discs in the DVD player, or my mom could, and he was happy for hours.

(3) a warm, soft bathrobe. Dad had never been into bathrobes when he was well. But once he got sick, he always said he was cold. I bought him a snuggly fleece robe with a hood, and he loved the thing. Wore it all the time. When he went into the hospital, he asked for it (and he wasn't asking for much by that point). Even if he felt too warm to wear it, he wanted it in bed with him where he could touch it.

(4) a photo book with pictures of people he loves is a great idea. We put one together for dad and would go over it sometimes with him to keep people's names and faces in his mind as long as we could.

(5) coloring books and crayons. It was so weird to see my dad take to those. His frontotemporal dementia progressed incredibly rapidly -- three years ago, he was teaching calculus. He was never into drawing or art, either, until he got sick. By the last month of his life, he couldn't color in the lines. But he liked the coloring books and crayons. He really did.

I like your puzzle idea. Make it a simple puzzle, without too many pieces so she doesn't get too frustrated.