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Want, Need, Wear, Read

by - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I come from a large family. A typical family gathering with my family, aunts, uncles, first cousins, spouses, and children numbers in the 50's. So you can imagine our Christmas chaos and it goes a little something like this:

Yes, that is a picture of the gift pile from last year. We have tried many things over the years to get that pile under control. Kris Kringle, only getting gifts for the grandchildren, limiting dollar values of the gifts... but somehow, that pile always hovers between a mound and a foothill. Everyone always wants to get gifts for the new grandkids, then ones for the godchildren too, and then for your siblings, and then and then and then...

This year, at least with my own family, I'm suggesting we try a simpler approach - the Want, Need, Wear, Read of gift giving. The idea is simple: give the person a gift in each of those categories. I like how this minimizes the extravagant spending, but it also forces you to think more about what the receiver would want and makes for more meaningful gifts. Here's the things on my own dream list:

Want: Mackinac Island vacation

Okay, this is a pretty extravagant "want" but this is something that has been on my list for years. I would love to go with my parents, my siblings and their families, and my family for a summertime vacation to Mackinac Island. Have you heard of it? Mackinac is an 8-mile long island in Michigan where cars are prohibited and you explore by foot, bike or horse-drawn shuttle. The island is full of beautiful Victorian homes, grand hotels, and an old fashioned main street that plays host to many summer festivals. Sounds idyllic!

Need: Zumi Digital Camera 2.0

I neeeeeed this video camera. I'm under the belief that with this magical video camera I will be more inclined to document my family's life and so my daughter will have more tangible memories of her childhood. Good enough reason, right? Okay, so maybe the real reason I need this camera is that it shoots in 8mm style video. It makes life look so stylish, retro, and fun - and who wouldn't want those kind of memories?

Wear: Jojo Totes Camera bag

I'm not a big clotheshorse so I'd rather have this to wear around than a new pair of boots. Doesn't even look like a camera bag, does it? The faux leather is so pretty with its ruffles and marigold colour. And the fact that it can store my Nikon D80 (with the lens on) and a few diapers and wipes makes it awesome in my books.

Read: The New Traditional by Darryl Carter

Sad to admit that I'm not a big reader (do blogs count??) but if you do find me perusing in a book store, it will most likely be in the Decor & Design section. I could spend hours flipping through magazines and hardcover books filled with pretty pictures of people's homes. One book I'd like to have on my shelf is this one by designer Darryl Carter. I'm drawn to his white interiors and warm woods. His rooms have a gallery-like quality, not overly decorated or accessorized, with breathing room to enjoy each piece in the space.

So tell me, what's one thing on your Christmas list this year?

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  1. what a fun idea for Christmas gifts! hmmm...i gotta think about what would be on my list. :)

    and thanks for posting that jojo totes camera bag. i've been scouting for a practical AND cute camera bag...this yellow one is absolutely adorable!

  2. Hi:

    Wow. Your blog is great. We're building a home right now, so nowhere near the decorating stage yet, but I'm tucking away all of your neat ideas. In fact, I think we've chosen the same front door as you, only with a dentil shelf.

    Question: who does all your custom shelving and cabinetry? My builder keeps warning me that things like built-in bookcases are expensive when carpenters do them, but they don't look too complicated to me.

    And to stay on topic with your post, we have experienced the "Christmas in Excess" syndrome ourselves, so I'll be passing along your handy rhyme to the granparents this week.

  3. Oh - Mackinac Island is amazing. Since I grew up about 40 minutes from Detroit, the island was a frequent vacation spot for us. It really is like being transported to another time, a time I'd love to go back to. One thing I've always loved about the island is how colourful it is. The Victorian Houses are gorgeous washes of yellows, blues, greens and reds, and the gardens are out of this world. My parents have stayed at the Grande which is the place to stay [it was too expensive when they had 4 little ones] and it's beautiful. To this day, the best fudge I've ever had was from the village there.

  4. It's so funny how my Christmas list is different now that I'm a homeowner. I want a new push mower and a miter saw :)

  5. modernchemistry - the jojo tote is the cutest camera bag I've seen, and the price is pretty good too!

    mark - thanks for dropping by! My custom cabinetry is actually done by my husband (and he's not a carpenter, just a handy guy). He's built all the radiator covers in the house. But as for shelving, such as the wardrobes in the nursery and the office shelving, it is all Ikea that we have "hacked" to look built-in :). So, not too difficult at all really.

    Sarah - okay, now you have me wanting to visit Mackinac even more! I would love to see all that Victorian architecture. And the fudge - I read about the legendary fudge too!

    Mike and Katrina - so true. HandyMan has a compound miter saw on his list too ;)

  6. I think I just might neeed that camera bag! pretty and practical? Love it!

    I hope you didn't lose any children in that pile of presents!! I have a big extended family too so I can relate :)

  7. Anonymous12:56 PM

    I like the idea of categorizing gifts like that. I think the people in my family tend to shy away from gifting "needed" items, because they might not be as fun. But for me, gifting me or my kiddos need is soo helpful. It frees up money for fun things. :)


  8. Angela6:23 PM

    I'm asking for a new winter coat for Christmas.

  9. that is a fantastic idea! i also adore that camera bag~

  10. LOVE the yellow bag!

  11. Having grown up in Michigan, I've made several trips to Mackinac. The older you get, the more you appreciate it. It's such a beautiful, historic place. My family has several cottages on a lake in northern Michigan, and we get up a lot but I need to make it a priority to do the extra few hours to visit Mackinac again soon. Hope you get what you wish for!


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