2017 Christmas gifts: How to get the present you want

What to buy for Christmas?

Each year millions of people are facing the same question: What to buy for Christmas?
Many people pay a small fortune for a gift, sometimes after they have spent hours in the shops to buy what they think is a perfect gift. After all this thought and effort the receiver may be unable to totally hide the look of disappointment when they unwrap their beautifully wrapped gift with so much excitement and then it turns out to be something that they do not like or want.

An unwanted gift can be very awkward for both the giver and the receiver and may even spoil the whole occasion.

We all know the saying

“It is the thought that counts” but would you not rather receive a gift you really want?

Avoiding the unwanted gift incident is the best solution!

Here is a guide to help you get the gift you want and if you share the guide with others it will make your shopping not only for Christmas gifts, but also for birthday gifts, valentines gifts anniversary presents and other occasions much easier.

Define What You See as a Gift

I remember a birthday when not long after my husband and I bought our first home a relative of ours gave me a household appliance as a birthday gift. I know the person meant well and to be honest it was something we could use but it was my birthday, money was scarce so it would have been nice to have received a gift that was just for me. Something that I would not have bought for myself at the time.

Not long after that, I made sure that everybody knew what I saw as a gift. My perfect gift would be something just for me, something that I am interested in or has something to do with my hobbies. Something that is a treat that I would not normally buy. Or something I can pamper myself with. It does not have to be big and it does not have to be expensive but it has to be just for me!

Draw up a Wish List

  • Make a list, keep a scrapbook, or have a space on the web for the things you would like as a gift.
  • Remember to be specific. If you want a nice hand lotion, put the brand name and the price and for what type of skin it should be. If you do woodcarving for a hobby and you want a new tool, add the brand name, shop or website where it is stocked and the price. Anything the person needs to know to get you the correct gift. Pictures are good too.
  • Your wish list should have items over a wide price range from a 0.99-cent song on iTunes to your favorite sports car or diamond ring. One can dream, you never know who may look at your list!
  • Keep you wish list up to date. Circumstances, tastes and hobbies change with time so keep you list up to date to reflect your current preferences.

You Gotta Wish Big to Get Big!

Your Favourite Things

Some people will still prefer to not give you something from your list. It may be that you do not have something in their gift price range, they may not feel comfortable with the idea of a wish list or they would like their gift to be a reflection of them, as in the case of handmade presents.

Sometimes we know somebody for a long time, you may like them and enjoy talking to them, somebody like a work colleague but when it comes to buying a gift you just do not have any ideas. To help people to know what to buy for you they need to know what you like. So make a profile of you!
Creating Your Profile
Here are some of the items you may want to put on your profile.

  • Your definition of a gift.
  • Your favorite things. Include as many things as you like for example: color, flowers, fruit, music, movie and literature genres, food, type of chocolates, musical instrument.
  • What are your favorite drinks?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • Do you like handmade gifts or not?
  • Do you like gold or silver jewelry?
  • Do you like plain of printed materials?
  • Are you more a bath or more a shower person?
  • What is your star sign?
  • Are your currently saving for something specific?If you life in a tiny apartment and do not have space for huge gifts, write it down?

Share Your Wish list

Once you have made your wish list and/ or scrapbook and created a profile you have to share it with others. Keep it in a visible spot where your partner, children, and other people can have access to it. If it is a nice scrapbook, keep in the living area, on the coffee table or bedside table, where you watch TV or have refreshments. Talk about the new item (handbag, bracelet, belt, tool, fishing rod) you have seen on your shopping trip and added to your wish list.

Encourage your children to make scrapbooks and wish lists too. It will help you to keep up to date with their latest favourite things and can be a great way to connect.

A few weeks before Christmas have a get together with the people you will be buying gifts for and tell them to make a wish list or scrap book to bring. Enjoy an evening sharing a meal or snacks, sharing dreams, interests and gift ideas.

When is Money a Good Gift?

In certain circumstances money can be the most appropriate gift. You may have defined what you see as a gift before but there may be a time when money is the only gift that you really want.
You are planning a big trip and you have bought your ticket and everything else you need. You are now just saving for more spending money so the only present you really want is money!
You are planning to move house soon and have decided that you are only taking one suitcase of belongings with you to start fresh at your new destination. The last thing you need is another item you have to sell or give away!
You may be teaching your child how to save. The first present can be a piggy bank. Let friends and relatives know money are welcome as a gift and why.
If you have plans like these talk about them. This way your will be happy to receive money and they will not feel they have taken the easy way out with money as a gift.

Amazon Gift Cards

This is the perfect solution if you need to buy gifts on a regular basis for employees, work colleagues or acquaintances. Chances are pretty good that just about everyone can find something they like to have at the Amazon store!

Why This Topic?

I think gift giving is one of the most sincere acts one can do to show that you care about someone else. If you do give a gift because you care for a person, you would want your gift to make them feel happy. If you are the receiver of the gift and you care about the giver of the gift, you would want that person to feel good about the fact they gave you something you truly want. The only way one can accomplish happiness on both sides is through making our wants known.
What was the worst gift you have ever received? What was the best gift you have ever received?


Where are you, you?

“Where are you, you?” may seem like a strange question for some but there will be others who will immediately understand what the question is about. Those who don’t understand the question are the lucky people (some may think unlucky) who have the freedom of being themselves all the time. Those who don’t have people to care for or care about. Those who never have to think of anyone or anything other than what they want.  They can make decisions about life and decide how they spend their time without first thinking how it will effect others. This is not about them.

This question is for those who have lost or almost lost themselves while caring for others. There are some who are in this situation by choice but there are others for whom there was little to decide about: It. Just. Happened. The grandparents who’s now responsible for raising the grandchildren or those who became caregivers for family members with disabilities, illnesses or aging parents. This question is for them.

I started thinking about it the other day after I closed my Twitter accounts. I have closed the accounts before but then I soon afterwards I would feel like I am missing something and reactivate them. So, on day two of pondering my twitterless status, it dawned on me. One of the reasons I was so attached to twitter was that it was the only place I could be myself! On twitter I was not the caregiver of someone or the wife of someone. I was just me!

As anyone who has ever closed a twitter account will know, if you log back into your account within 30 days, your account will be restored. For now, I have to stay strong and stay away for 30 days! The new goal is to find something to do or somewhere else where I could be me and it would be good if it could include contact with people.

My question to you, is “Where are you, you?” One has to think about this because if you don’t pay attention caregiving will suck you dry and spit you out as skeleton of your former self. Sometimes it is a slow process other times it can happen in an instant but if you are not aware of what’s happing to you, you will lose yourself. 


Car trouble

During the late eighties I drove a 1974 light blue Volvo. The car was big, heavy and not very reliable. One morning on my way to work the car refused to start. In a bit of a panic I went to wake my brother, who was a student at the time to help me get the car going using jumper cables from his car.

Driving to work, I was already worrying about how I am going to get home after work. It was my first job and I was not earning much. I knew I would have to struggle with the car for at least a week.

There was no bus service available. Just getting into the car wearing a very narrow pencil skirt and high heels was already a challenge that required a motion of opening the door, turning your back to the car, then sitting down on the seat, leaning back slightly and lifting your two legs together while simultaneously turning to face the steering wheel. Even though I had the movement down to a fine art that would impress the Queen there was no way I could push the car and then do my move to perform a running start. Being very proud of my independence playing a damsel in distress card did not appeal to me either. Then I remembered the hill behind our office block.

I parked the car in the very last available spot at the top of the hill. After work I stayed behind until most of the traffic cleared. I walked up the hill, entered the car very elegantly and then loosen the handbrake. The car started rolling forward. I made a few up and down movements in the seat to make it move faster, then put the car in gear, lift my foot off the clutch and turn the key. It worked. My problem was solved and the most strenuous part of the solution was walking up the hill.

I did that for a whole week.

A story using idioms about the moon

It was full moon here a few nights ago and last night I noticed again how beautiful the moon looked so I thought I will write a short story using idioms about the moon.

Many moons ago, I ask for the moon, but then someone who thinks he hung the moon told me not to moon my time away waiting for something that only happens once in a blue moon. Now, I am over the moon, because I know when I keep reaching for the moon, I may find someone or something to moon about!

There could be a life lesson somewhere between all the moons.

The most amazing feeling of freedom

In my early twenties, I worked as an au pair for a family in Tel Aviv. I met a few other girls who also worked as au pairs but I became good friends with a girl from Poland. It was the first time I traveled abroad. The girl from Poland was older than me and a seasoned traveler.

We used to have our day off on a Saturday but as it was Sabbath (a holy day) in Israel, there were no buses available until late in the afternoon. We wanted to see the country so we decided the only other option to get around was to hitch hike. I know it is a dangerous thing to do, even back then but we did it anyway.

We would be up early in the morning on our day off, pack something to eat and then, with a vague plan of where we wanted to go, we would start hitch hiking. We never waited long to get a ride or even between rides. Sometimes I was still getting out of the previous car when my friend already had the next car waiting.

We had a few rules. We never said where we were going when a car stopped. We always greeted and then ask where they were going. If the occupants of the car looked a bit dodgy we said were are not going to that place and waited for the next car. If the occupants looked ok, we would change our destination so we would get the longest possible ride. We never got into a car which had more than one male occupant unless there were more females or children in the car.

Some days we started going to one place and ended up somewhere very different. One afternoon our ride took us to Tiberius by the Sea of Galilee. We had just enough time to eat our sandwiches and feed the crusts to the fish before we had to start our journey back to Tel Aviv.

What stayed with me from this time of my life is the most amazing feeling of freedom. We went where we wanted to go, changed our plans at the drop of a hat, and never thought twice about money. We lived in the moment.

When a compliment does not get the reaction you expected

Years ago, I worked in an office with nine other women. It was my first job and being the youngest one there I could not really take part in many of the normal office conversations. The other women were in the office early every morning, drinking coffee and eating sandwiches for breakfast while catching up on the latest gossip. I usually arrived just on time and started working straight away even on the rear occasion that I was a few minutes early.

On this particular Monday morning, I stormed (that is the right word, I was always half running – I will tell you why on another occasion) into the office again, signed the attendance register, turned and saw a woman who I knew was very excited on the Friday. She had an appointment with the hairdresser on Saturday. Her shoulder length hair was a slightly lighter color and blow-dried into big loose curls framing her face. I said “Your hair looks great!”

The office went quiet for a few seconds and then the woman burst into tears. I just stared at her not knowing what to do or say. One of the other women came to hug her and said, “It is only hair. It will grow back” As the crying woman turned to go to the women’s toilets, I saw a large almost bold spot at the back of her head. I felt terrible, but how often do you ask someone to do a 360-degree turn before you compliment her on her hair?

I then found out that she had her hair permed. This involved a process where they put hair curlers and chemicals on your hair and leave you sitting under a hairdryer for a while. She was left under the hairdryer for too long. The hairdresser only realized when the woman called her and said she smell her hair burning. They rinsed it immediately but obviously, it was too late for saving the back.

She had made another hair appointment with another hairdresser for lunchtime that day to see if her hair can somehow be fixed. When she came back after lunch she had a nice short haircut, which I thought made her look much younger. The spot at the back was barely noticeable. Not knowing what her reaction will be if I shared my thoughts with her, I said nothing.

Have you ever given someone a compliment and got an unexpected response?

Why does the Timaru District Council teach swimming?

Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre
Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre

Wednesday morning there was a Timaru Herald article on the Stuff website about the current non allowance of a private Timaru swimming coach to teach swimming at the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre. When I looked for the article last night it seem to have disappeared. Why?

Why is teaching people how to swim a function of the Timaru District council? As far as I can see it should be the council’s role to supply and build facilities for swimming and employ lifeguards for the pools but I cannot see why the council should hire swimming coaches. After all the TDC build a skateboard park but does not offer lessons, it built libraries but does not teach people how to read and it build a dog park, charge dog licencing fees but it does not offer dog training!

As far as I know the café, gym and spas are operated as separate business so why can’t the swimming pool not be operated the same way? All the council should be doing is manage the pools and schedule the timeslots for lane hire by various swimming coaches. This way the pool will be used for a much larger part of the day. Charges for lane hire can be higher or lower depending on whether coaches want to hire lanes at peak times or not.

Opening the facility up to other coaches will give people choice. If you have ambitions for your child to be a swimming sensation then you can pay the higher prices charged by a top coach whereas a parent who just want their child to be water confident can choose more affordable swimming classes. More children will get the opportunity to learn to swim in a shorter period of time. That is the reason why the aquatic centre was build, was it not? It also have the potential to make the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre more profitable for the ratepayers and we all want that whether we use the pool or not!

Side note: Why is there not a swimming costume and towel hire facility available at Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre like they have at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa?