Friday, November 23, 2012

Practical Gift Giving

               Several months ago I posted on practical gift giving, and I said that September is the time to start your Christmas list, and what you plan to give.  Of course, my emphasis is always on something which will be useful and appreciated.  Frivolous gift giving can be wonderful, but most times, people want to choose the frivolous and truly personal for themselves.  When I give a gift to a loved one, I shoot for emcompassing both their interests and their needs. If I am really doing my job then I capture something they need but didn't even know existed.  I don't believe in giving a fantastic gift at all costs.  My gifts have to make good financial sense, or I don't give them.
              I learned about gift giving from not only having five children, but by having three brother in law who also have wives and children. Although we don't give gifts now, giving to adult males, their wives and children as well as your parents, and then your spouse and children can be difficult.
             First of all, it's important to draw the line. Most families simply cannot afford to give expensive gifts to anyone but their children, and perhaps their parents.  In the past, there have been some years where my budget for my spouses gift for Christmas was all of twenty dollars. Money is tight everywhere, and if it isn't that tight for you, then you aren't paying enough attention, and you could allocate better yourself !
             The most important element in practical gift giving, especially for Christmas is to start with enough time.  Starting in September allows you time to list the people you will be giving gifts to this season.  Then, there is time for you to discover sizes and preferences. Starting then will give you plenty of time to check your local sources for availability and price, and to take a look at these items for viability. Then, take a look on,  e-bay, and amazon.  Run searches and see if a specialty shop has a better buy on this item than any of the companies I mentioned. This doesn't take very long and it can save half or even more.
             This year for example, I wanted to get a tactical jacket for one of my sons who has a concealed weapons permit.  I had in mind a Kitanica jacket, which is the top of the line and would allow him to carry a concealed weapon comfortably.

                The Kitanica Mark v, is a terrific jacket, but for six hundred dollars was not only beyond my budget, but it exceeded what my son needed.  He only needed a comfortable three season jacket which allowed him to have an additional manner of weapon carry without calling attention to himself.   So, I began looking at other types of jackets, eventually settling on this one, which meets all the needs and comes in under budget for about sixty-four dollars plus postage.

                              This is the Rothco 3 season "carry jacket" which simply allows another way of carrying a concealed weapon and magazines.    Sometimes, the much cheaper alternative will not meet your needs, but this time, it certainly does.  Many times, it does. The Rothco is also valuable in this case because it really cannot be differentiated or detected as a "carry jacket" and this is always valuable.

                              Another one of my kids needs a new hard-drive this year for his computer. I was going to get one which allowed an obscene amount of data, and then I realized, that if we spent just a little more on that, we could get his TWO of slightly less capacity, and this would provide some redundancy, should anything ever become corrupted.

                             Our daughter has really already had her principle Christmas gift this year.  She needed a stove for her new home, and she wanted a particular type that was expensive.  We ran around and found the exact stove on Craig's list.   It was very lightly used, but an incredible buy.   A family had bought a fairly new home, and found this stove in it.  They had a stainless steel professional stove they were bringing to the house, and they needed to sell this one.  We bought it, cleaned it, and it is just like new, with all its paperwork, but for a fraction of the original cost new.   She will have plenty of smaller kitchen oriented gifts this year to give her something to open.

                             Don't forget books as presents.  Our daughter's boyfriend really is a family member to us now, and he has a fairly new interest in preparedness and survival. (I wonder where he got it......tee, hee)  There are plenty of excellent books for his hard library which can be purchased very reasonably, along with some other practical items to unwrap.

                           Our money supplies are finite. We need to spend time honing in on the best use of our money and the gift that will be the most help to those we love.  Free yourself this year to get what will achieve this.     Before you buy your wife a vacuum cleaner she has not asked for,  this is the one area in which a romantic gift may be in order.  You will need to assess this carefully.  I have always preferred practical gifts and a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret would have been an egregious misspending of money. I would rather have a certain brand of chocolate or ammunition.   Many women care less about the gift and more that you know them, and carefully considered it.   Sometimes, you may even have to ask what they want.   This is fine, because even after more than twenty-five years of marriage, my husband cannot yet read my mind !




Dani said...

Jane - Thank you - you have some very good idea's in this blog posting.

What I have just done (addmittedly belatedly), is to bake a whole bunch of solar Christmas cakes. All it's costing me is the ingredients - the cooking side comes from the sun :)

If there are any men out there who follow your blog and read this, could I ask them to please consider getting their wives a solar oven - they are priceless in their uses :)

And, LOL my man, too, has difficulty in reading my mind - and that is after 32 years of marriage :)

JaneofVirginia said...

Dani, That is an excellent idea ! I bought a sun oven in the Fall and I have not posted my review and pictures yet because I have not used it enough to be able to say anything very wise. In my climate, I don't get much sun after November which is why my chickens stop producing eggs until Spring, and why I haven't used my Sun Oven much. It IS a priceless implement for most of the year in most places, and is especially valuable during emergencies. Thanks for your idea, Dani !

lotta joy said...

I finally figure out why gifts from my daughter always made me think "huh?". I later realized she was buying what SHE liked because she always made a face over whatever I liked. She's nice like that.

JaneofVirginia said...

Lotta Joy, We are always taught that we should select gifts that we would like to have. Unfortunately, some of us learn this, and actually do, only to discover that we don't all like the same things ! I don't give people what I would like to have anymore. I give them what I think they need, because I am paying for it, and I hope they GROW INTO liking whatever it is. A lot of the time, they actually do. Have a great evening, my humor filled friend.

lotta joy said...

Jane!! My post is up and ready!!! You'll never guess what I called it. lol

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks so much, Lotta Joy ! I am honored to be included in your post and to have the book reviewed and applied as you have.
For the few who come here and do not know Lotta Joy's work, she is a bonafide award winning blogger and humorist who regularly has us all in stitches laughing at her personal observations of life, marriage, being a pet owner, a sister, a Floridian, and occasionally a patient.

Her blog can be found at:

The page to which she is presently referring is:

You are indeed one of life's blessings, and we are all honored to read all you have to say ! With love,