This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Art of Gift Giving

March is a huge birthday month in our family with a total of 6 birthdays being celebrated before the month's end.  It makes sense, I suppose, that gift giving has been on my mind a lot lately.  I wrote this post over a year ago about some Christmas gifts I had received that made me wonder how the gift givers saw me.  Now, as the gift giver, I wonder how the gift recipients see me when they receive my gifts.

I like to think BIG when I think of gift wrapping.  I perused way too many issues of Martha Stewart living to be content to just throw on some paper, tape it up, and call it done.  I like to choose beautiful, unique paper, preferably from places like The Container Store or Ikea or the like that sell papers not necessarily seen everyday.  I like to add wired ribbon, perhaps some leaves, pinecones, or twigs from nature, maybe raffia...yeah...I feel a theme developing here!  I'll wrap all the gifts in plain brown paper that I'll stamp with leaves from a stamp I make myself by gathering the last few leaves left on the ground and then carving them into a potato to make my own stamp and then I'll gently clean those leaves and use them as a pattern to make felted leaves that I'll attach to the package with raffia that I have recycled from a wreath I made 5 years ago!

Needless to say, my gifts always arrive late.

Can you say "pressure?"  When you tear hand-stamped-with-a-carved-potato paper off a gift you are bound to be either a) disappointed that the giver spent more time thinking about the potato carving than the gift; or b) not even aware that the paper was stamped (though you do notice a slight potato-y smell...) and thinking that the giver sure spent a long time sticking junk from the yard on a package that just contains a gift card!

Did I mention that I am not an inspired gift giver?

My mom's birthday is tomorrow.  I haven't sent her a gift yet.  I haven't even purchased a gift for her yet.  I have thought about her gift.  I've thought about little else for the past week.  Last year's gift went over like a lead balloon.  It wasn't the gift my mom wanted.  What she really wanted was a gift card to Olive Garden.  I gave her what I wanted her to have, not what she wanted to receive.  This year my mom really just wants a gift card to JCPenney.  Why do I hesitate?  It's not hard to send a gift card!  I'll admit it feels a little meaningless to me but then again, I'm the giver, not the receiver.  It's not about me.  Do I make the potato-stamped paper for the gift recipient?  Or for myself?  Ahhh, narcissism and gift giving make strange bedfellows, yes?

I better go.  I have to get to JCPenney.  And then to the post office.

Do you have any gift giving/receiving stories to share?  I'd love to hear about the worst gifts you received or better yet, sent!


Deb said...

I'm sorry- I can't get past the hand carved potato stamper--however did I miss that?!

Anonymous said...

First - I have gotten apple stamped packages that smell like apples - very nice smell, try that.
Practical gift tip I like - If I feel forced to give something I do not like, make it easy, order the gift card on line and have it sent direct. Then give a small token gift that you would love to have them enjoy - even if they will not and wrap the heck out if it. Bot of you get pleasure at little additional cost. Just my thought.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I received a goddamn steam iron from my ex-husband. There is a reason he's an ex.

Beth said...

Deb - I know, I know, potato stamping! What's wrong with me??

Beth said...

Anonymous, the apple stamp is a great tip! I also love the idea of ordering an online gift card. I may not even have to have it mailed, it may be usable via an email code which would be Green too :)

Beth said...

SB, did your ex hand stamp the paper in which he wrapped the steam iron? I'm thinking he didn't...