Today is the 8 month anniversary of Lucie's birth. Man, time flies. In some ways it seems like she's been here forever, in others, it seems like the time has passed in a flash. She is all sweetness and smiles right now, she brings so much laughter to our family-- even to the other small member who certainly has mixed feelings about her. And she already has her Daddy wrapped around her finger.
We had a nice Thanksgiving with my brother Drew up from Chicago, and my Uncle Bob who lives nearby. They are both bachelors happy to have a meal cooked for them, so the pressure is low, which is how I prefer it. Elliot and I did our grocery shopping the night before, foregoing Whole Foods and heading to our local natural foods store instead. Figured the parking and crowds would be easier to handle there with a pre-schooler in tow. We didn't have a ton planned except the staples- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls and pumpkin pie- letting ourselves be inspired by what looked fresh. We also ended up with brussels sprouts, multi-colored baby carrots, and green beans. I figured I'd cook until I was tired, but I ended up getting to it all. The last few things were prepared with recipes from Martha, and were very easy. I've never made brussels sprouts in my life, always thought I hated them, but they're delicious roasted with apples and bacon-- what isn't right?
So, for the first time in my life I am nearly finished with my Christmas shopping. I've done it all online during Lucie's naps, and even bought a lot of gift cards. Every year I have the biggest struggle trying to marry my idea of a good gift with the recipient's, adding in the environmental effect. Of course, I love to make handmade items, but if the recipient doesn't want/need/like it, then it ends up as junk in a landfill just as much as store bought stuff does, you know. So, most of my recipients will get a small handmade item together with a gift card to a place that I know they frequent. That way, there is very little spending on shipping, no gas to return items, I'm not adding clutter to their homes, and they can get something they truly want.
I don't want to be a scrooge, but I feel like gifts have evolved from being a small token, or a thing that someone actually needs to just being over the top. Remember when Laura Ingalls would be all thrilled to get an orange and a maple candy? Maybe some wool socks? Now kids need what, an 87th stuffed unicorn? I certainly buy my fair share, but I suppose what I buy fits into my value system. So this is my solution for this year, I still get to come up with some clever crafty packaging, but the recipient also will get to choose what "stuff" they want to bring into their life. Any good ideas for gift card packing, preferably something useful as well?