What I gave: 2011
In December, when everyone was blogging about the presents they were giving, I wished I could have shared, too. I was so excited about the gifts I had found this year! But JG and my sister read this site regularly, plus my dad on a sporadic basis, so it was a bad idea. At the risk of being a total jerk because you might have wanted to buy these things, here are the gifts I bought my family this year. It goes without saying that I got free shipping, found a coupon, took advantage of sale, used Ebates, or some combination thereof, for all of these items, right? Right.
1. Pi bottle opener: hello, solid steel pi! The fact that it opens bottles is just a bonus.
2. Behold the Lamb of God, by Andrew Peterson: We discovered Andrew Peterson this year, and JG loves Christmas music, so I downloaded the studio and live versions of Andrew Peterson’s annual Christmas tour. It’s not traditional Christmas music; it’s more like a narrative of the Christmas story with original songs (and some carols) throughout.
3. The Very Very Many Varieties of Beer poster: I went through a bit of a tizzy with this product because it arrived damaged, but Pop Chart Lab immediately sent me a replacement. Phew. The next obstacle was framing and wrapping this thing because it is 24×36″. As in, it comes up to my chest and is therefore very bulky and heavy. But it was worth it because it is awesome to see local breweries that we love on this poster.
4. Porcelain travel mug: JG brings a mug of tea to work every day, and none of his mugs are dishwasher-safe. So when I read about this mug on Food Lush, I decided to buy one just in case he liked it. Big hit!
5. Waffle tees: JG had mentioned that he didn’t have any long-sleeved shirts between “doing yard work” and “wearing a button-down.” I got a couple of these tees at Old Navy for super cheap on Black Friday, and JG quickly put them in regular rotation.
1. Striped sweater: I got this on super clearance from the J. Crew factory store, so it is long gone now, but it’s a high-quality, light wool sweater and a good addition to JG’s teacher wardrobe.
2. Half-zip sweater: JG loves this type of neckline, and he didn’t have this color yet, so I bought it, yes, for super cheap on Black Friday. I am nothing if not predictable.
3. Mensa puzzles daily calendar: I got JG this calendar a couple of years ago, and he mentioned how his students like to try the puzzles. It was time for a redux.
4. Sheldon Cooper “73″ t-shirt: This shirt is a reference to The Big Bang Theory but more subtle than a giant “bazinga” across the chest. Sheldon wore a shirt like this on the show more than once, and when he explained it, he said, “The best number is 73. 73 is the twenty-first prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the twelfth and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying (hang on to your hats) 7 and 3. In binary, 73 is a palindrome: 1-0-0-1-0-0-1, which backwards is 1-0-0-1-0-0-1.” I printed out this diatribe so that JG could rattle it off when someone inevitably asked him what the deal was with 73.
For my family, I followed a formula of sorts: a book, a funny notepad, and something else. I dipped heavily into the notepad and sticky notes sections at Knock Knock, which I highly recommend.
1. LOFT pleated tunic: My sister has been wearing leggings more often, and she said she wanted more tunics. This picture is kind of misleading because I couldn’t find the one I got her online, but it’s a really deep purple color. However, I have the striped one here, and I love it.
2. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: This was one of my favorite books of the year, and I thought my sister would find it amusing. It’s the kind of book that you can dip in and out of, so it’s not a huge time investment.
3. Fashion Citations: Yes, my sister and I tend to be snarky. So what?
4. Brave Little Kang t-shirt: My BIL has a thing for monkeys, so I always have my eye out for monkey stuff. This t-shirt from Threadless is really interesting and could be worn under a blazer for a casual night out.
5. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand: Another one of my favorite books! My BIL already e-mailed me that he finished this book and loved it.
6. Cubicle Notes: We joke that my BIL is a career bureaucrat, so these seemed appropriate.
1. Amazon gift card: Not my finest moment, but my mom wants to get new running shoes this year, so I contributed to that purchase. Did you know that you can order an actual gift card, in a greeting card, and it gets shipped to you overnight for free? I am so doing this in the future. It’s way classier than printing one out on a home printer, folding it, and jamming it into whatever spare envelope I can find.
2. A Tiger in the Kitchen, by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan: I didn’t rave about this book, but I thought my mom would appreciate the story of a woman who goes back to her native Singapore to learn how to cook from her aunts and mother.
3. You Are Here bookmark notes: HAHA. I really should have bought these for myself, too. I just find them so hilarious.
4. Grid-It: I don’t remember where I read about this product, but I knew immediately that my dad would love it. He is a gadget hound. The last time we hosted Christmas, every outlet in the living room was occupied by one of my dad’s chargers. Really, Dad? When my dad opened this, he didn’t quite get it (despite my over-enthusiastic explanation and gesticulation), but I’m sure that he will love it once he plays with it.
5. American Places, by William Zinsser: I haven’t read this book, but it’s by one of my favorite writers. He visits major American landmarks and writes about them, and my parents love traveling around the country. I felt a little nervous giving a book I hadn’t read, but I think this was a safe bet.
6. When Pigs Fly sticky notes: Again, HAHA.
Let’s see, what else? I gave my grandmother a new photo album for when I send her prints in the mail, plus a framed copy of our ridiculous Christmas card photo. My uncle, aunt, and cousins each got sticky notes, plus a shared gift card to the movies. Oh, and everyone always gets baked goods, too. This year, I made pumpkin bread and blondies. For my part, I got a couple of fun things (cute t-shirt, mustard-colored bangle, new sheet pans), but all I really asked for was money toward a new camera, which I hope to put to use soon.