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Christmas present thread
Old 11-28-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
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Christmas present thread

This time of year, I always have a hard time responding to "Aunt Susie called and wanted a list of present ideas". If I don't answer, it's another plaid shirt. If I do, I usually respond to the pressure by taking the easy way out and answering with something dull like a gift card.

Going the other way, I know that a quality, long-lasting gift is appreciated by the recipient. And it is more more satisfying to give.

Maybe a thread to exchange gift ideas would be fun and produce better results for those of us handicapped in the art of gift-picking and shopping.

You can post good ideas for gifts. Or ask for recommendations if you have an idea but don't know exactly what to ask for. Or maybe even brag a little if you get the new red flyer wagon you have always dreamed of.

Need advice: scissors and a knife sharpener.

This weekend, after carving a turkey with a dull knife and a frustrating craft project involving a couple of hundred feet of fabric cuts with dollar-store scissors, I realized I had a need for sharper tools. Both of these products have a wide variety of prices, styles and effectiveness. Any brand recommendations I should pass on to Aunt Susie?

My tip is the best wine bottle opener we have ever owned. (we received it as a present, and I remember the giver frequently when we use it.)

Easy and quick on both the openings and cork recovery. Very little muscle required and minimal spill risks. It has lasted for years:
Amazon.com: Trudeau Trulever Corkscrew Set with Tin Box: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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I don't do Christmas.
Would be willing to suggest a charity/organization/individual were anyone really wanting to know.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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I got my wife an Amazon "K3" Kindle for $139 loaded with 19 Dean Koontz novels (her current enthusiasm) for $7-$10 each. It arrived a few days ago, and I've been using it surreptitiously, downloading the Koontz novels, mainly. I think it's pretty nice, but I really don't know whether she'll like it. We'll see.

You mentioned crafts. I imagine you've seen the TV advertisements for the "Cricut" gizmo that cuts out patterns from paper or vinyl. The only thing that prevents me from buying one is that I know no one, including me, that has any need to cut out elaborate patterns. Sure looks neat, though.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:27 PM   #4
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I imagine you've seen the TV advertisements for the "Cricut" gizmo that cuts out patterns from paper or vinyl. The only thing that prevents me from buying one is that I know no one, including me, that has any need to cut out elaborate patterns. Sure looks neat, though.
I saw one of these in the craft store when I was buying fabric. Like you, I can't imagine having a paper-shape-cutting need so strong that it needs a $150 machine and $25 cartridges for each "theme" (holiday, school, sports, etc.).

I just want a quality pair of $25 scissors that I can use cut out any shape I want.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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I got my wife an Amazon "K3" Kindle for $139 loaded with 19 Dean Koontz novels (her current enthusiasm) for $7-$10 each.

How thoughtful ! She will love that gift !
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:33 PM   #6
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I saw one of these in the craft store when I was buying fabric...

I just want a quality pair of $25 scissors that I can use cut out any shape I want.
So - do you sew?
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:41 PM   #7
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So - do you sew?
Very rarely, and then I prefer staples or fabric glue to that invention they call thread.

This project was bigger than usual, making several cheap santa suits for an upcoming party. I used red thrift store clothes for the base, but used cut-to-size vinyl and thick fleece from the fabric store for the boots and white trim. It was tough going with dull scissors that didn't fit my hands well.

Thinking about it, I use crappy gummint-issue scissors at work, too. It's been a long time since I've used a nice pair of shears.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:30 PM   #8
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This time of year I'm thankful that the only thing we family & relatives exchange is holiday letters & cards. Now that I'm on Facebook we might even be able to dispense with those.

We're going to start the no-gifts tradition with our kid this Christmas, but I've been reading "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology" so I'm going to get her a copy. I guess it's like getting socks or underwear under the tree but I think it's a better investor-psychology-education tool than a Bogleheads book.

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I just want a quality pair of $25 scissors that I can use cut out any shape I want.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Thinking about it, I use crappy gummint-issue scissors at work, too. It's been a long time since I've used a nice pair of shears.
Lately I've been buying Fiskars, the bigger & heavier the better. When they dull after 10-15 years I just buy a new pair.

Fiskars makes nice pruners & loppers, too. Just be careful to wear heavy gloves and to not use them if your fingers are numb or there's any doubt over what you're about to lop off...
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:20 PM   #9
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.

We're going to start the no-gifts tradition with our kid this Christmas, but I've been reading "50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology" so I'm going to get her a copy. I guess it's like getting socks or underwear under the tree but I think it's a better investor-psychology-education tool than a Bogleheads book.



.


Don't do it ! This is your daughters first year away and she needs extra pampering at Christmas . No socks , underwear only if it is fun and no books .Gift cards for her favorite stores , anything from Apple , fun pj's !
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:23 PM   #10
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Lately I've been buying Fiskars, the bigger & heavier the better. When they dull after 10-15 years I just buy a new pair.
Thanks Nords, that's perfect. A simple, quality product made by a 350-year-old company.
"Orange Fiskars scissors are design classics that have been popular for more than four decades."
I may ask for two pair: a pair of the long, heavy general purpose scissors and a set of tailor's scissors with the handle bent a bit so that the material can stay close to the table.

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Fiskars makes nice pruners & loppers, too. Just be careful to wear heavy gloves and to not use them if your fingers are numb or there's any doubt over what you're about to lop off...
Hey, that's another tool where I have sometimes wished I had invested in good quality! I'll add it to the wish list.

And as a bonus, I see on their web site the knife sharpening roller thingy Fiskar sells is identical to the $7 gadget I picked up at IKEA today. I had assumed, wrongly perhaps, that I needed something more elaborate. I'll hold off on asking for something with a horsepower rating.

So I'm all set for now, at least for the Aunt Susie and dear brother lists.

I can send you a used, homemade santa suit in a couple of weeks if you would like a commission.
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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For DH I try to come up with thoughtful, interest-appropriate gifts and suprisingly most of the best are very low cost.

Several years ago, my DH became interesting in screenwriting. I knew his generes of interest so I downloaded screenplays from the internet, printed them and put them in a binder. I included an index and created cover art for the binder entitled "Screenplays for Steve's Research". To this day he says that was the best gift he's ever received.

Another year he got interested in raising hot peppers. I found several varieties of hot pepper seeds and wrapped the seed packets, along with cute little planting pots and potting soil.

The key to this gifting strategy is to listen and think ahead. It doesn't work every year for me because some years there isn't anything new, but when there is and I can keep the idea a secret, the gift turns out great!
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:51 PM   #12
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oops, my gifting strat might work for spouses, but definitely won't work for Auntie.

Would Auntie be open to donating to your favorite charity in your name? I did this for my dad the year that he had cancer and he was very appreciative of the donation.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:51 PM   #13
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Don't do it ! This is your daughters first year away and she needs extra pampering at Christmas . No socks , underwear only if it is fun and no books .Gift cards for her favorite stores , anything from Apple , fun pj's !
Spouse and I see that duty being thoroughly covered by overindulgent aunts/uncles and grandparents.

We treated her pretty well during Families Weekend (September) with dorm-room optimization and free meals. We treated her pretty well on her 18th birthday (Hallowe'en) with negotiable currency. When she gets home in a few weeks she'll have all the free food, transportation, gas, liberty, and surfing that she can handle.

The big holiday surprise we have in store this year is that there are no rules at all-- we're treating her like a family houseguest, not our kid. No chores, no cleaning up, no nagging, no curfews... just be a good houseguest. Of course we're doing it as much for the look on her face as we are for the fun of her having to live up to her own behavioral standards instead of evading her parent's rules. (That behavior was so high school.) And after 18+ years I'm ready to move on from the parenting gig to "life coach".

She's planning to bring a bunch of classmates here over surfing spring break, so we'll spend next month shopping for a couple used 10'0" longboards. I think she'll be stoked by that too. After next spring... I'm not sure she'll have many compelling reasons to return home when she could be surfing Galveston or spending spring breaks in the Caribbean.

But I'm still the guy who seems to get the job of showing her how to actually have some of her gift money stick to her fingers.

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I can send you a used, homemade santa suit in a couple of weeks if you would like a commission.
Thanks! But around here Santa either surfs in on a longboard or paddles in on a canoe, so I'm going to stick with my bright red rashguard and its white fuzzy trim...
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:34 AM   #14
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If there was anything I could buy for someone that they valued more than the money it cost, they would have already bought it themselves

Cash to my nephew, letters to parents and sister. So long as I don't let supply of stamps and envelopes run out, all my Christmas shopping is done for the year. And the rest of my life
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:35 AM   #15
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I found several varieties of hot pepper seeds and wrapped the seed packets, along with cute little planting pots and potting soil.
Less interestingly, I just treated myself to ground ancho, chipotle, jalapeno, paprika, and pepper flakes from Merchants of Exquisite Spices, Herbs and Seasonings | Chicago | Milwaukee | Evanston | Geneva. My hot pepper had all gotten too old.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:44 AM   #16
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Less interestingly, I just treated myself to ground ancho, chipotle, jalapeno, paprika, and pepper flakes from Merchants of Exquisite Spices, Herbs and Seasonings | Chicago | Milwaukee | Evanston | Geneva. My hot pepper had all gotten too old.
Spices are always a nice gift, especially for oneself. I can never resist Penzey's when I shop in downtown Pittsburgh's Strip District. They have a catalog, but I like to go in the store and inhale the aromas.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:55 AM   #17
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Spices are always a nice gift, especially for oneself. I can never resist Penzey's when I shop in downtown Pittsburgh's Strip District. They have a catalog, but I like to go in the store and inhale the aromas.
+1

And now they are everywhere: Penzeys Spices Retail Stores
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:14 AM   #18
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If there was anything I could buy for someone that they valued more than the money it cost, they would have already bought it themselves
+1. I'm on the road to Nords' policy. So far we have a family agreement to no presents for siblings and adult nephews and nieces. We still give them to our kids and each other but it is not a rewarding process. DW is looking forward to getting stuff for our grandson so that works out well.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:32 AM   #19
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We just get a couple of token gifts for each other since we pretty much have everything we need and most of what we want, and the Beech Baron is not in the budget.

DW enjoys shopping for the pint-size relatives so that's where the bulk of the Christmas shopping funds go. Everyone else gets cards.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:56 AM   #20
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HTown,
I can tell you are not a Scrapbooker! DW is, and she has one of those cutters, and a ton of colored paper to go along with it! Just picked up a Black & Decker ratcheting ReadyWrench for my son.
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