This holiday season is lopsided. Normally by this time, I have about 20 presents for Aubrey and still haven’t figured out what to get Matt. This year, I’m officially done with Matt’s presents, and I have exactly two Woot shirts and a couple of stocking stuffers for Aub. I spent the morning scouring Etsy, and did order one thing for her. The problem with Etsy is major choice overload. Unless you know exactly what to query for, you end up with 97 pages of things like “olive oil soap.” I went through 32 pages before I gave up because my brain hurt.
Hopefully I will have more luck at the Peace Market tomorrow. Last year I found her this amazing gourd purse that is intricately carved and dyed, for a whopping $22. I usually manage to knock two or three people off my list at the Peace Market, including my father-in-law, who is the only person more impossible than my mom.
In addition to my kids, I have to find something for my mom and three of my nieces. Because our families are big enough, we draw names at Thanksgiving, so each person only has to get something for one other person. It saves us a fortune, and allows me to be slightly more creative. My niece is incredibly easy, as she wears makeup, but owns none of her own. Yup, that one is done, thanks to the ELF sale. She also asked me if I would make her a chain maille bracelet, so I have to get on that as soon as I finish up my friend’s shawl.
My mom is more difficult to shop for, and I don’t think she has ever liked a single gift that I’ve ever given her. Generally, if she wants something, she just gets it for herself, which leaves little to work with when the holidays or her birthday come around. Whereas Aubrey and I are psychically linked, I don’t have that bond with my mom, so I don’t just “know” what she would like. In stark contrast, Aubrey knows exactly what type of things I love, and last year was her greatest triumph. She got me a dragonfly pendant from Etsy, a pair of heart earrings and a butterfly pashmina from a vendor at her school, and a manicure set from a kiosk at the mall. While I was a little iffy on the manicure set, it turned out to be one of my most favorite gifts, as I ended up with killer nails after using it for a couple of weeks.
I put a lot of thought and effort into everyone’s gifts and there is often a handmade item or two. With my kids, there is usually a theme each year; one year, every one of Aubrey’s gifts was an art supply of some kind. Matt’s gifts generally have a music theme; guitar strings, pick sets, sheet music, piano lessons, etc… It’s also not Christmas without Matt getting something with a polar bear on it, and chocolate orange candies in his stocking. Aubrey knows that one of her gifts is always a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates; unlike Godiva, Russell Stover’s is gluten free, although their facility is not GF dedicated.
So this year, I have my work cut out for me. I think I will let it ride for the moment, and hope that an idea will surface eventually. I may come across the perfect thing on craigslist, or at a craft fair, or maybe at some ritzy boutique in Austin. Meanwhile, I am going to concentrate on upcycling something for Aubrey. I’ve seen some pretty amazing creations on Etsy (all out of my price range), and since the sewing machine is set up and all my supplies have been unearthed, I think I can make a version of what I’ve found.
If anyone has any mom-gift ideas, please post them in the comments!!
“I’ve never been so deep inside a shadow. I’ve never been so insecure of what I know…”