Saturday, December 12, 2009

Slipper Socks: Medium.

I have a lot of things in my head that I wanted to blog about before Christmas but the month is getting away from me!  I'm going to cram some of it in today. 

I heard this advice a few years ago and it has not steered me wrong:   Don't buy something for a gift that you wouldn't want to receive yourself; unless you know the recipient specifically wants it.  For example, all the piles of kitschy little gifts in the middle of all the department store aisles: those are not for your friends.  Unless one of them is like BFJ, he likes those. 
This sentiment is epitomized by a scene in The Ref.  Everyone has spent years sucking up to the family matriarch, hoping for her blessing on business enterprises and such, as she holds all the family money.  Christine Baranski plays a woman who receives slipper socks from this tight-fisted mother-in-law for Christmas.  When the truths start boiling over among all the players and Christine's character speaks up, Mother Rose asks "Who do you think you are?"  I love the reponse: "Slipper socks.  Medium." 

I think a small but lovely gift is never out of place.  Consider some excellent chocolates, some luxurious body butter (one of my favorites is from The Body Shop); better yet, give a little of yourself: your favorite book, a fat stack of your favorite new line of fabric or skein of yarn you'd buy for yourself.   How about writing thoughtful letter stating what's so great about this friend of yours.

And now for a little more etiquette:  how about thank you notes?  I admit, I don't send them out every time, and sometimes I don't get to all the gifts.  I try to write thank yous for people I don't know well, like the boys' friends, or for shower gifts.  I don't mind if I don't get a thank you note every time but when I get a thank you for something that was handmade, or a sincere note of appreciation from a friend, that is special.  And I want to pass that on.  I do make the boys write a thank you note here and there, because they should, and they should appreciate the thought that goes into gifts.  Oh and let me just say how much I love a hand written letter.  Come on now, everyone does, right?  I am working hard to write all my Christmas cards this year. 

And finally, some holiday music.  I was going to write a Random Review Friday: Christmas Music post, but haven't gotten to it on any Friday so far, and they're almost gone for this month!  So here are some of my top picks, in case you are looking for something new:

I grew up with volume I and it brings back such memories.  I was ecstatic when I found this on CD; previously I had only heard it at my parents' as a child, and that on vinyl.  Why should you purchase these?  They are simply the richest harmonious arrangements of a cappella Christmas songs around.  If that's not enough, I can't help you.

A Festival of Carols in Brass by the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble
Instead of all voices, this album is all brass instruments.  The production is high quality and the regality of the brass fits the season so well.  Again, a wonderful array of songs and arrangements.  The two trumpet players in my family also love this disc.  And only $6.99 as of this posting?  How can you say no?

I also love Harry Connick's holiday albums and a new favorite is Alan Jackson's Let It Be Christmas.  And if you grew up or raised children in the American 70s, I'm sure you'll want A Charlie Brown Christmas

Does this post read out of breath?  Well, I am off to drop off a little boy at a birthday party and then some grocery shopping.  I spent the morning in bed.  I'm germy and sick and took advantage of it to spend a couple hours reading the new book club selection:  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  This would also make a great gift for a girlfriend who loves to read.  But more on books later, I really must run!

PS  The little angel in the last post two posts ago was made by my mother, many years ago. 


MARCIE said...

A very thoughtful post. It is easy to get nostalgic at Christmas, isn't it. Hope you have a very merry one with your loved ones! Bet you will have snow!

Thimbleanna said...

Whew! That was a full post! Hubby would tell you that you can't forget the Johnny Mathis Christmas Album - it's his favorite.

And thank you for appreciating a hand written Christmas card. I've fought the temptation all these years to go to a "Christmas Letter" and I still write my cards. Sometimes it seems silly 'cause I'm writing the same thing over and over again, but I just think it's important. And if I might be allowed a little complaint -- it drives. me. nuts. when people complain about how much work their Christmas cards are, when all they do is fold a computer letter, stuff it in the card, and address the envelope. It's fine to do it that way, but don't complain about how long it takes!!!

Sorry, didn't mean to take over your blog LOL!

Matthew said...

My name is Matt.

I like 'the piles of kitschy little gifts in the middle of all the department store aisles'.


*hides face in hands*