Yesterday while on the way to an appointment, we found ourselves in a frenzy of people shopping for gifts to meet the Christmas deadline. The tension in the air was palpable. Although we are not immune to the pressure —some people, like little kids need to get a gift on time — over the years we’ve devised ways to seriously manage this holiday obligation.

First off, we’ve extended that “deadline” in our lives to last past New Year’s. When we can get them comfortably together is when our friends will get them, with the same amount of love and caring, AND the pleasant benefit of having a gift come at an unexpected time.

Next, we don’t give many “bought” gifts unless we see something that someone we love has GOT to have. We like to make up big batches of a homemade food to give…, Dried Apricots in Cardamom Syrup, Prunes in Armagnac (recipes here), homemade chocolate with unexpected flavors. These are great to bring as a little token to holiday parties as well.

Ellen Silverman
Ellen Silverman

For the people we need to thank or remember for the various kindnesses they show us — the hairdresser, our doctor’s staff — we order 5-pound boxes of sensational Montana-made Bequet caramels and package them into pretty 12-ounce bags, more or less depending. These also make great gifts to bring to a party AND to serve at the end of our own holiday parties.

bequet caramel

And finally, our favorite gift, and the best for last-minute giving, since they can be had pretty much immediately: a donation to a charity with a gift card saying we’ve given money in our friend’s name to someone who really needs it. We can get paper cards… make our own cards by having a service like Postcardly print up one of our images…

postcardly 1 IMG_1388

or make it even easier by using a digital service like Paperless Post, where the giftee opens the card online.

kalman stars w envelope

…We can design them ourselves — here we’ve used Maira Kalman’s stars — and tailor the message as we wish…

inside message IL

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