I am the fourth of five children, and as we got older, we continued to exchange gifts. But it became a new art. Gifts became less about the toy you'd always wanted, and more about what you needed. Practical is a theme with our family. No sense in wasting this perfect gift giving occasion on frou-frou things. Let me explain ...
No matter how old we got, we were always trying to debunk the secrets of Christmas, getting a giggle out of catching Mom hanging candy canes on the tree which was technically *ahem* Santa's job.
When our youngest brother went off to college, we made sure he was supplied. His new spiral notebook reads, "School prepares you for the real world which also sucks."
When our oldest brother got his first house, he needed to be outfitted with all those things that bachelors never think of. Perhaps he didn't need two potato peelers and two can openers, but hey, we were looking out for him.
And what could be more heartfelt (and useful) than new tires?!
Or a case of oil?!
Of course, practical doesn't have to be boring. I received this refurbished runner sled one year. I'm not sure that I've ever found snow that was icy enough to run it on, but it makes a smashing porch decoration!
And sometimes practical gifts involve work. One year my (then new) husband, Hank, asked for a Wolf Whistle horn for his car. Dad came through, and Hank was under the hood, installing the horn, that same day.
We always try to honor what's on the Wish Lists (as long as there's some sense to it). Carhartt's overalls make for a great gift. Unfortunately giving farm equipment to a city boy can lead to interesting outcomes.
Practical can come in multiples, too. Dad liked to shop in bulk. And, seriously, who doesn't love shop towels? It may be the universal gift, whether you are a mechanic, farmer, housewife, painter; there is always something that needs extra absorbency!
This caught on other years as well. Perhaps there was a buy three, get one free sale? In any case, these gifts are warm and cozy.
When I was expecting our first baby, Hank and I received a rocking sheep. A practical gift for you; hours of fun for the baby!
On Baby's First Christmas, she received Noah's Ark and a shearling bomber hat. Okay so the hat is a wee bit practical, but so gosh darn cute!
And regardless of the year, Dad was always on the hook for the obligatory flannel shirt.
The epitome of practical!
I guess my family's logic in all of this is, I'll buy you the necessary day-to-day things, allowing you to spend your money on the frou-frou toys that you've always wanted. Once in a while we'll break out and suddenly someone is unwrapping a crystal cookie plate or hand-blown glass ornament. This is quickly followed by a set of new kettles, of course. Our stout German background keeps us grounded. And after we've changed the oil in our car, we come in for another piece of stollen.
|A very special Barn Hop|