Giving and Receiving

Well, it is Christmas  Day.  We will rendezvous with daughter later this morning in Bismarck  and haul her home. Then we will open presents and she will presumably fall asleep until supper.

We have three presents for her under the tree, and one from her to  her dad. My present from her was a tomten with a 2 feet tall hat that doubles as an Advent calendar.  All we got for each other was our fresh,  mail order  Christmas  tree. Son and family will get their presents next week when we travel to Brookings. I appreciate  that in our family we only get each other simple, useful things. (Daughter believes it is essential that I get something tomten related every year). The cats got nary a present, as they  share the tree with us.

What did you get? What did you give? What were your best and worst Christmas presents ever?



23 thoughts on “Giving and Receiving”

  1. We open our gifts on the solstice and then stockings on Christmas day. I got One of those doorbell cameras from YA, a perfect example of a gift for yourself that you wrap up with someone else’s name on it. But I knew she was thinking about it and I didn’t stop her As I just didn’t have any better ideas this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best gift received: a gazebo for my Lake Superior cabin. My father was a self-taught carpenter. This building, having sixteen sides, was so confusing he couldn’t figure out the angles using math. So he designed it using trial and error experimentation. He built this outside his home workshop in Orono, then disassembled it and put it on a trailer. I hauled the trailer up to our cabin, then located a local carpenter who would work with us to reconstruct it. Dad was in his 70s then. This was the last major project in his life.

    Best gift given: a framed print I gave my erstwife, a copy of a 1940 photo of a bombed-out bookstore in London. Three men in hats stand in the rubble of the shop, whose roof had been blown off, examining books. The photo captured the fighting spirit of Londoners during the Blitz, and it became an icon of British WW2 resilience. (It was probably a setup shot, but one that worked.) Months before Christmas I discovered the name of company that owned the copyright. I phoned the firm in Paris and told them I wanted to buy a copy to be shipped to me. When it arrived I had it professionally framed. I knew the gift would be a total surprise. My erstwife was quite buzzed with wine on the night she told me she had just seen an image that was the most pleasing photo she had ever seen.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Merry Christmas and Shine On Baboons,

    My favorite thing to give, which I have been doing, is jelly made of wild grapes, wild plums, sour cherries, or strawberry-rhubarb which my step-son just loves. I also give away my raspberry liqueur in small bottles. I like these little useful, consumable things. Then people return the jars and I get to see them again.

    I got a DVD set of “Country Music” which I wanted. I gave miscellaneous pickle-ball gear to Lou.

    I don’t love Christmas or any of the associated and beloved movies. Just not my holiday. Thanksgiving is the holiday I really enjoy. You know, the food.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. We stopped exchanging gifts years ago and all family members on my side donate money to local charities in lieu of gifts to each other. Christmas is so much less stressful since we discovered that little pleasure of life.

    Best gift I ever got was a check for $500 from my parents earmarked to buy myself a pro-quality trumpet when I was in college. I’d been playing on a piece of crap horn through high school and was slightly embarrassed to show up with mine during freshman year at the U of Miami School of Music.

    We were a solidly middle-class family back then (early 70s), but didn’t have big bucks by any means. I think my folks stretched a bit to afford that $500, which is why that gift was so meaningful. I think it hurt their bank account more than a normal Christmas gift season would. When I saw the check and the note attached, I bawled like a baby with joy.

    Best gift I ever gave? Nothing comes to mind, probably because I’m an uninspired gift-giver. I know we surprised Mom on more than one occasion with a washing machine or some other big ticket item, but that was mainly Dad’s doing. We kids just kept the secret.

    Worst gifts I ever got were strange, religious-themed books from my pious grandmother, who at least knew I loved to read. But her choice of books was truly unusual. Nothing I would ever have been interested in reading, then or now. On the plus side, she always made us kids a pair of winter pajamas for Christmas, which were more than welcome in our drafty house.

    Merry Christmas to all Baboons and their related primates.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Hi Kids! Merry Christmas!

    I know a lot of people that had a hard time getting in the mood this year. To me, it just felt like there was two weeks off work and something special would happen in the middle of it. And here we are.
    And it’s good.

    There was some concern over the fact several gifts that were supposed to arrive Sunday from Amazon via the USPS have still not arrived. In fact we haven’t gotten mail at all since Saturday.
    So the Sunday driver said he couldn’t find the address and then, we think, just ran out of time and marked it ‘Driveway / Front door inaccessible’. Monday we left a note in the mailbox to call us. But never got mail in the first place.
    I went to the post office Tuesday to try and track it down. And kudos to the post office for their help and trying. We had a substitute mail carrier Monday and he was overwhelmed and didn’t finish the route but now the package was with the regular carrier and he should deliver.
    Nope. Struck out again. And we waited at the highway / mailbox for 2 hours until we got the notification it was again “inaccessible”. Evidently there’s not a box to check that says “I’m overwhelmed and I give up”…

    But we put a positive spin on it, and wrapped some extra stuff, and daughter handled it well.

    I don’t know about best given or received; there’s been a lot of nice gifts over the years.
    I did learn early in the marriage, ‘sexy underwear’ is not considered a good gift. 😉

    I got something neat this year; a “kitchen Boa”. Like a scarf but with towels on the ends that double as hot pads. LOVE IT! I always have a towel over my shoulder that never stays so I’m pretty excited to try this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can think of very few gifts that I have given or received as an adult that have made much of a lasting impression. There are, however, several childhood gifts in both categories that still make me smile.

      The month of December at the boarding school was enchanted. All the glass light shades in the main hallways were replaced with folded, golden paper stars with star shaped holes punched all over. Light streamed out from these holes and bathed everything in subdued, muted light. I remember one Christmas receiving a tiny toy sewing machine that could actually sew from some unknown person who had donated it to the school. I loved that little machine, and I recall writing a thank you letter to the donor telling them how thrilled I was, and that it was the best gift I received that year. The nuns made me rewrite the letter because they thought it unseemly that I should give the impression that I had received a lot of presents, which I hadn’t, but I guess you can’t be too careful.

      The best gift, at least to my mind, was a small jewelry box that I made for my mother. It was constructed out of six colorful postcards, likely of angels or some other holy figures. Each card was lined with a blue satiny piece of fabric with a few cotton balls between the fabric and the card. The cotton balls were to provide a soft place for moms jewelry to rest. The fabric was stitched in place with blue yarn through holes punched along the edges of the cards. After each card was done, they were all stitched together to form a box with a lid that was fastened only on one side. It took me weeks to finish this masterpiece. Oddly enough, I have no recollection of my mother’s reaction to receiving this gift, and she likely didn’t keep it around very long. She was not one to ever hang her children’s art work on her fridge.

      For Christmas this year Hans gifted “us” with an espresso machine. I had no idea we needed or wanted one, but I guess we did. Maybe I’ll get “us” a gift certificate to a day spa as a surprise New Year’s gift.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. They left Richfield this morning at 5:30 am. Best friend sang at four Lutheran Christmas Eve services last night. Daughter went with her. She said two of the services had a really slow piano player that drove daughter to distraction. At least best friend earned $500 for her effort. She says Lutherans pay really well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Best friend has second stage, in-person auditions for grad school at North Texas State, U of W in Madison, or CEU in Greely. She is a talented singer.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This year I got a jigsaw puzzle, a couple of books, including that new Joni Mitchell one, Christmas socks, cat socks, some very glamorous gloves, a suet wreath to hang out for the birds, a gift card for a wine shop, some chocolates, and some cash.

    I gave my nieces heated car seats this year, the kind you plug into the cigarette lighter. Those seemed to be a hit.

    Liked by 3 people

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