Monday, November 27, 2006

Tell Me What You Think

ReverendMother ( brings up the gift giving problem this time of year. She writes beautifully about everything so you'll enjoy reading her gift discussion (and wandering back into her archives).

I'm thinking about gifts, too. I love giving gifts and give them throughout the year to my pals. But, at Christmas, when gift giving is expected, I get confused.

It's the source of my gifts which confuses me. I don't do much retail shopping (ie. mall, boutiques, shops). I find great gifts at charity shops, estate sales and thrift stores.

I don't give anything soiled or gross or yukky. I'm not talking moldy shoes or used socks here.

People give away amazing things: fine crystal, sterling silver holloware and jewelry, unread books, etc. I clean, polish and dust (if necessary) and like to pass these treasures along.

What would you think if I gave you a gift from a charity shop? I don't try to pass off these gifts as new and, in fact, spend time thinking about the fit of the gift with the recipient.

Tell me, please.

Wearing brand-new unworn Ralph Lauren suede slippers with the new tags on slippers for .50 right now,

St. Casserole


St. Casserole said...

I removed the tags from the slippers so don't worry about my feets.

I forgot to say that my money goes further buying vintage or antique treasures than searching the Mall for another useless gift. I'm not being cheap, I don't think. I'm being creative. Or. So. I. Hope.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I would be so damned honored to know that you found something that said *Mindy* in your searches. It would truly mean something to me.

reverendmother said...

I love the idea. I agree it is creative. There's this serendipity to it--the fun of stumbling upon a treasure.

Last fall we had a rummage sale for Katrina relief and I found three very gently worn sweaters that seemed perfect for my three sisters/in law. They were like new and I ended up giving them each with a small trinket from Bath and Body Works just because I was so nervous about getting something used for them. They seemed fine with it--I shared where they were from. I was gratified to see my sister wearing the sweater this weekend when she visited! I don't know whether she did that just for me :-) but anyway, I think it's a great idea.

Songbird said...

As you know, I wear my St. Casserole Memorial Scarf as a reminder of our friendship and to give me courage on difficult days. So apparently I think you are doing things just right!

ppb said...

I would love it. I love antiques. I love bargains. I love using something that someone was just going to pitch.

Psalmist said...

I'd be thrilled, St. C. I understand some people would not, however; my stepmother hated my grandmother for giving such gifts, for example. (Of course, she hated anything except handcrafted gifts--made by the giver--that at least equalled her admittedly expert level of knitting, crocheting, and embroidery).

Maybe for those people you think might be offended, you could choose a lovely (used) container for an obviously new candle, edibles, or potpourri, or some such other thing? A number of years back, a friend and I bought up a bunch of pretty, used pottery and made scented candles to fill them. Nothing prettier than a moss rose pattern sugar bowl, sans lid ($1.00 at an antique shop), filled with a matching pink rose-scented candle. People raved about our little gifts. She even sold some at a craft mall booth. April at Salt for the Spirit posted a link for some goodies-in-a-jar recipes/ideas recently. That might be a good way to use vintage containers, too. The other thing I did was buy old china tea cups and make them into pin cushions by making a little "pillow" out of batting and a coordinating fabric, then hot-gluing it and gluing or wiring old fancy buttons, old-fashioned embroidery scissors, small stick-pins, old spools of thread, and other such "girly" things to the pillow. These also sold well and a couple of my sewing friends loved them when I gave them as gifts.

I love your idea and would prefer vintage gifts (without further enhancements), truly. Sounds like I'm not alone.

Purechristianithink said...

Isn't there a quote from Bilbo Baggins that says "New gifts for new friends, old gifts for old friends," or something like that. The implication being that old things had more depth, value and significance and you saved these for your oldest, dearest friends.

zorra said...

I would love it, and iI'd like to think most people would feel the same way. It would tell me that you had really thought about my tastes and what I would enjoy. I love vintage items (and really cool bargains), too. Not to mention recycling something beautiful in great condition, that someone else just chose to pitch.

Listing Straight said...

This was something I had to learn when I met Mr. Listing. In his family/with his friends the gift is all the better if you spent very little on it- they would proudly leave the tag on. Having said that, he is a better shopper than I am. His presents may not always appear on the right day, but when they do, they are far more appropriate/thoughtful. I become too consumed with having to have a gift for the day.

Jane Ellen+ said...

I think it's a wonderful idea. Not only do you find more appropriate gifts, and items which are far less likely to be duplicated, but you are faithfully following the 11th Commandment.

"Thou Shalt Not Pay Retail."

Amen, sister!

Anonymous said...

My mother in law gives something to everyone each year from the attic. It always has a story and usually is very nice. There have been some duds, but I've oten enjoyed the story more than the gift.

I'm trying to teach my kids the joy of giving and recieving. My other family members think I'm a horrible mom for doing this, but I have my 3 and 6 year old kids watch others open their gifts. I want my kids to see the joy other people have in recieving. So far, they've enjoyed that as much as opening their gifts.

Homemade gifts are often the most meaningful to me. Hand knit scarves, a framed picture, etc... They are thoughtful and personal.

SO, I say go on ahead to the estate sale, or the thrift store, or make something nice, or do something thoughtful. It's all about giving from the heart!

the reverend mommy said...

I think it's wonderful. I'd rather have a thoughtfully selected present that is from a estate sale, garage sale, charity sale than anything from a Mall.
I cherish my Casserole Last Supper.