to cook a few meals (including that no-bake caramel cheesecake for the visiting boy because cheesecake is a meal)
to work on a blanket for a soon-to-be-born soul
to find the first star and give thanks for the above and so much more
The very best of the season to all…. this includes magic of course, and chocolate for breakfast (no food rules in December) and if you’re lucky, signs of elves, fairies and maybe even angels nibbling what’s left of your greens.
Of course the holidays aren’t about gifts. Who said they were?? Gifts shmifts. We’re above that, right? It’s all about feelings and togetherness and kumbaya, man. Yessirree Bob it surely is. Still, I have the feeling that if a few gifts don’t cross a few palms there will be some questionable vibes floating around amongst the joy and the shortbread crumbs.
Having said that… there’s no rule about what the gift should be and between you, me and the lamppost, I don’t like shopping and most of the people I know already have too much stuff. (Books don’t count. We all need books.)
So for the past few years I’ve been moving to non-stuff gifts (except for books, which, just to make it crystal clear, are NOT included in the ‘stuff’ category, not in any land or galaxy because, among other things, and unlike stuff, they’re fun to buy).
I was, therefore, super chuffed when a friend recently sent me a list of “Out of the Box” gift ideas. Nothing especially mind-blowing, but that’s the point: to consider some of the basic things that everybody needs but don’t treat themselves to. Like new underwear, only better.
— gift certificate to an art supply store
— or hair salon, barber
— garden centre
— car detailing (someone to clean my car—they do that??)
— lawn mowing service
— snow ploughing
— ski hills/trails
— restaurants, cafes, diners, bistros, a really great mom & pop breakfast joint
— house-cleaning for a day
— window washing service for spring
— eavestrough cleaning for fall
— local art, pottery, scarves, jewellery, etc.
— subscription to local theatre
— membership to museum, gallery
— chimney cleaning
Lots there to appeal to mums and dads, grandparents or older friends/relatives who have mown enough lawns and cleaned enough gutters that the lustre has faded a little from those particular DIY jobs… and it helps support small businesses.
Then there’s food: homemade preserves, baked things (markets sell this stuff year-round), or (for people you really like): Community Supported Agriculture and similar farm programs that deliver baskets of fresh veggies all summer. There’s magazine subscriptions and favourite charities of course. And donkeys… You get the idea.
In fact, if you do get any ideas, or come across other sites that are doing unusually fun gifty things worthy of note, please let me know.
So here’s to keeping out of the malls and, as much as possible, supporting community and independent retailers, book shops… and always, always… FARMERS!
Ever since I met a woman a few years ago at a B&B in Okanagan Falls who had a lot of donkey chachkies around the place—enough that I ended up asking So what’s with all the donkeys? and she answered with some lovely donkey stories and streams of trivia, all of which become thin and boring in translation/reality because you really had to be there [on holiday, drinking B.C wine around a stone fireplace]—I’ve been slightly mad for the big-eared furry beasts.
In fact, one of my goals is to have a guard donkey on my as yet to be acquired vast country estate. I’ve heard they’re extremely proprietary and can easily take down cougars and other things that prowl about on country estates, vast and otherwise. (Not that I have anything against cougars.)
So the other day when I’m driving from point A to point B and pass a donkey standing in a field—which for some reason hardly ever happens—well, I had to turn around of course and take some pictures. I was happy enough just zooming in on the beautiful thing way off in the distance.
Never dreamed it would walk across the whole field…
…right over to the fence
…and stand right in front of me
…which I took as a sign of kinship—it obviously felt my donkey-loving vibes.
A very happy Dr. Dolittle moment.
Then it did this.
Followed by this.
Being smitten, I chose to take this as a message of welcome, good humour and a general attempt at communication (though I’ve been told it’s more likely a message of If you haven’t got any carrots would you mind getting off my property or you’ll leave me no choice but to do my famous cougar move…)
Which is exactly the kind of donkey you want to have.