This post came into being due to a catalog that landed in the mailbox of my friend, Jan. She was delighted by the offerings in it, and knew I would be, too. Picture books with accompanying soft-toy animals? Lead me to them!
I rushed to the website. I had a marvelous time.
Oooooh! A stuffed Humpty Dumpty (who would never need the assistance of the king’s horses nor the king’s men, stuffies are like that, although perhaps a needle and thread might come in handy on occasion) … a stuffed excavator with a copy of Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site? A stuffed excavator? Polar bears with their own book? Llama, Llama, Holiday Drama with a Little Llama? Parent and baby PENGUIN?
After looking at practically every wonderful thing the website had to offer, I started thinking about the annual puzzle of gift-giving.
Sometimes, we have to admit, it’s difficult to think of something unique to give a friend or family member. We wrack our brains for an idea. We ask veiled or blunt questions. We hope for a more specific answer than, “Oh any little thing will be fine.”
If you have friends or family who are writers, musicians, actors, or have an interest in those worlds, you’ll find some links below that may give you some ideas. Either that, or they’ll give you ideas for additions to your own letter to the Benevolent Gift-Bestowing Being of your choice.
Do you have writer friends? Avid reader friends? Word geek friends?
Check out Bas Bleu (which means Bluestocking). This is the catalog that started my thought process for this blog post. You MUST take a look at it! How about a Willie dog with a copy of Whistle for Willie? There are oodles of gifts for grownups of all sorts as well. I’m keen on the Card Catalog Note Cards, myself, but there are tons of other things.
Jan also suggested the Acorn catalog. It is a delight from cover to cover (and from webpage to webpage online). How about a teapot that looks like an old-fashioned typewriter? I think that’s just delightful. Or maybe a personal library kit, to attempt to avoid those awkward situations when someone has borrowed one of your favorite books and hasn’t returned it?
And the gift list par excellence for writers has to be the amazing compilation of suggestions Susanna Leonard Hill recently put together. She has outdone herself this year, with suggestions for all budgets, and all tastes. If you have a writer on your gift list, do check out Susanna’s suggestions. Prices start at free, and range upwards.
How about theatre/acting/play-going friends?
Playbill has a delightful website gift store with gifts connected directly to specific Broadway shows, as well as more general theatre-themed gifts. I can speak from experience in recommending the board game Be A Broadway Star — in which players get to act out scenes, sing excerpts of Broadway songs, collect fans… Great fun!
The Royal Shakespeare Company in England has some wonderful Shakespearean-themed gifts, from the enlightening, such as a DVD of Michael Pennington’s reflections on acting and directing Shakespeare’s plays, to the mood-lightening, such as this do not disturb sign.
Or are your friends more into music, either as performers or as audience?
Back to the Acorn website for Christmas crackers (not the kind you eat, the kind you pull — the kind that have a prize inside). This set of Concerto Christmas Crackers has whistles with different notes, so that your assembled guests can play a tune when all the cracker prizes have been distributed.
If you’re looking for gifts that aren’t just focused on classical music (although there are a few of that sort here, too), check out the musical gift offerings from Not On The High Street, a British online shop. How about a personalized voice sound wave print?
And to provide a cautionary note (no musical pun intended) a blog post from Deceptive Cadence on NPR Classical: Gifts (Not) To Buy for the Classical Fans in Your Life.
And if your creative friends are in the category of “Have Everything They Want or Need” …
Some arts organizations offer opportunities to give a monetary donation that will provide music lessons, or dance lessons, or acting lessons, or art lessons, to a child who would otherwise not be able to afford such luxuries.
For example, Creative Kids Saskatchewan does this through their Online Holiday Catalogue, in which a donation of $20.00 will provide a dance leotard, or art supplies; $46.00 will give a child musical theatre classes for one month — you get the idea.
See if there’s a similar project in your area!
I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have, looking at all these possible gifts. Now… what would be good for Great Aunt Matilda? Hmmm…