Monday, July 2, 2007

The Gift of Giving

These ornaments remind me of the ones my mother used to attach to her kitchen curtains at Christmas. My dad had carefully twisted straight pins to hold them on. I was always careful to do this for her, standing on a little chair. Then we lined up little caroling wax angel candles and wax choir boy and Santas and snowman candles... I saw those for sale in Vermont Country Store.
Everyone knows Rachel Ashwell, huh? This is an older book I bought a few years ago. It always inspires me to do something a little different for gifts. I'm making a conscious effort to put some thought and love into the gifts I gift, from the purchase, to the wrapping, to the delivery. I love my friends. I LOVE LOVE to give presents, but I'm sooooo guilty of putting everything off until the last minute. I don't often know why. Sometimes it's my budget, sure. More often, I think I'll find THE PERFECT thing later if I just wait. Guess what? It doesn't happen. I don't find the perfect thing, but later it is... Then I'm rushing off trying to remember what flitted through my mind as a neat gift a month ago and kicking myself for not buying it. Or I'm digging in my closets and pantries looking for something I bought and squirreled away, rather than bringing presence to my presents. For my mother's birthday I had two troubles. I was under kind of a budget thing, AND my dad was ill for so long she was in a bad mood about her birthday. So, I put things off.... luckily, I did find some lovely paper, some beautiful satin and gingham wired ribbon, and some lovely, thoughtful gifts. It was fine. As I tied a cherry pink satin bow around a little doll wrapped in Mary Engelbreit cherries paper, I was smitten by the outside of the box. Don't we all want to be THAT woman who makes the whole PRESENTATION a part of the gift. Some of the blogs we read feature that kind of gift. Alison at Brocante, Tracey at Notes from a Cottage Industry, Cindy at My Romantic Home... and more... Rachel Ashwell's book is one of several I own that inspire. Sometimes th student in me refuses to take the inspiration if I can't have the whole thing... Aw, I don't have the same paper... well, forget it all! Finally, gift bags have ruined me. I think they're lovely. They organize a bunch of gifts magnificently. They save the day in a rush. But, still....
What's the coolest gift you ever gave or the coolest wrap you ever created? One of my best and most fun gifts was a collection of gifts to my dear friend's college graduate daughter. The daughter adores Audrey Hepburn, so I was able to find an absolute little arsenal of Audrey Hepburn things, including a bracelet of Breakfast at Tiffany's. I did all those and some survival elegant snacks for her upcoming trip to Colorado all in a net bag with a vintage album of Breakfast at Tiffany's tied to the outside. It was fun; she was absolutely delighted. Thinking back, I spent at least three months collecting everything. I didn't spend enough time wrapping it, but it was still fun to give. I love themed birthdays. This girl's mama is the queen of those. She has given me berry birthdays, patriotic ones, trips to spas, and writer's retreat birthdays... She's an inspiration for that. As Sarah Ban Breathnach says, "NO MORE CHEAP TAPE ON BOWS" and you know it. Yep. I have six days to get something ready for my sister/cousin's daughter's birthday. Let's hope it's a good plan and I can share the package with you guys.
In the mean time, let me hear some of your all time favorite gifts you've received, seen, or given, complete with ideas for creative wrapping...???? I'm hinting for some comments!!! P.S. I hint like Alf!!!! (That pizza would look great on my tongue!) Remenber Alf?


cityfarmer said...

OOOOOOOH, I have this book and it is a feast for the eyes.

a pink-bee said...

I too have this book-it is a nice one :). Your have a lovely blog :)

the feathered nest said...

That's one Rachel Ashwell book I don't have. I suppose I should add it to my collection. I love her philosphy, although I don't know if all those white slipcovers are really practical if you have kids and/or dogs!