Last weekend I was on a mission for a Christmas tree for the studio. I hit up a couple of hardware stores, Target, then – my arch nemesis – Hobby Lobby. I have never bought myself a faux Christmas tree, so when I read a box that said a tree had 961 points, I thought – sarcastically, "Great! Because I've always wished my Christmas tree had just 11 more points on it."
See, living in the mountains spoiled us when it comes to Christmas trees. You simply go out, pick your own out of a field, some country-fied high schooler picks up a chain saw and goes out to cut it down for you. You cram it in your car (not on top, because David freaks out) and you drive it home, where you fill your house with needles as you push it around the house. There's lots of hot cider and mulled wine involved in the entire process, and your car and house smells good for weeks and it's amazing. (2010, 2011)
Now that we're in Alabama you have fake trees. Or, for the weird folks (like we'll be for our home tree) you go out to some sketchy stand in some parking lot around town and you get a pre-picked-out, pre-cut tree.
Honestly, I'm pissed off about the whole thing.
But, for the studio tree I didn't want to lug in a pine needle mess, and I wanted something a little non-traditional. We tend to be pretty traditional with our home tree, so I wanted something kind of funky.
My first thought was to get a white tree, but knew it would get lost in the white-ness that is the new studio. I didn't want silver, but I did find a champaign one that I loved. But, since gold isn't usually a color that I go for, I was afraid I would hate it next year.
So, that left traditional green and, well, black.
I stood in the aisle at Hobby Lobby for a good half hour, staring that sucker down. I asked David multiple times if I could pull off a black Christmas tree. I mean, it could go three different ways.
1.) It could have looked cold and icky. I mean, it's a black freakin' tree.
2.) It could have looked a little trashy. In my head I kept picturing it covered in leopard print ornaments, or standing in a scene from Beetle Juice or Drop Dead Fred (which I do love, don't get me wrong) looking like another bad idea from the 80s.
3.) It could have looked exactly how I wanted it too. A little cheeky, but still reminiscent of tradition. Just with a touch of sass.
I decided to just go for it. I mean, I don't know anyone who could rock a black tree like I could. I had to go with my gut and give the damn thing a try.
As Cute Kid and I were decorating it, we found ourselves singing "Monster Mash" for no obvious reason. In my head I noted how hilarious that was, and went and turned on my very favorite Louis Armstrong Christmas album. Monster Mash soon disappeared, and we finished up a kraft paper chain and hung the white ornaments.
The results were exactly what I wanted it to be. It even – dare I say it – is totally in line with my brand image. Don't tell Santa I said that.
And there you have it: a rocked-out black Christmas tree. Just bringing the holiday spirit to our new studio home, and maybe a little bit of the Monster Mash while we're at it.
A few years ago David's mom introduced me to the 5 languages of love. After looking it over it became super clear to me that I show love by giving. I love to give things to people that I love, so I've made it a personal mission to be very good at it.
I once had a friend whose standard of gift giving was to spend some time with the recipient and wait for them to compliment something that she owned. Then, when a reason for gifting came about, she got them one and gave it.
In general, this is an ok practice. I mean, there's definitely worst. You could receive gifts that your giver wouldn't be caught dead with. Those always go straight to the donation pile.
To me, there's a clear art in giving great gifts. It's not about spending tons of money or waiting for them to compliment something of your own; it's about being thoughtful.
1. Give specifically what they ask for and/or need.
If someone has a registry or a wishlist or a Pinterest board of things they want, purchase something from this list, if possible. Your recipient is giving you a clear idea of what they want, practically begging for it, so go with it. You know they'll like it.
Likewise, opt for a practical gift over a frivolous one, especially if your friend is in a tough spot. They may not be asking for an oil change, and it's not fun to wrap, but I'm sure it's much more appreciated than another set of coasters.
2. Consider giving an experience.
Some of my favorite things to give and get are not things, but experiences. David was once in the habit of giving me massages for my birthday. Concerts are something that I've always enjoyed giving. It's not about what they get, but the memories they make while doing them. Especially if they get to do them with you.
3. Give something you'd wear / love / enjoy / purchase for yourself.
Giving something that you know you'd love for yourself is usually a pretty good way to make sure you don't get into that impulse-buy trap. You know, that moment when you see something you think would be great, get it, and then almost immediately regret it. Always pause and take a moment to imagine if you'd be happy if you received this as a gift. If not, put it back and move along.
It's all about thoughtfulness and quality. These make for really great gifts.
It's Good to Give
This last reason is the foundation behind a couple of events coming up on Indie Shopography. Starting Monday, and over the next two Mondays, I'll be hosting three giveaways here on the site. Three giveaways of things I love. All for you.
Mark your calendar. I'll see you then!
How do you pick out gifts for your friends and family?
Today I'm thankful that I have a job that will let me take off all week, if I want. And I want.
I'll be spending the week with family, friends. I'll be cooking, eating, and sipping. Shopping. Laughing.
Not working, or answering emails.
Man, my boss is one cool chick.
There are almost 2.5 years of really great blog posts archived away in the depths of Indie Shopography.