I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week. It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it. I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag. Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.
Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.
Brown or white paper bags can be quite good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached – making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use. The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any. My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.
Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time. Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake, bauble and star adorned festive gift bags. After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?
As an exercise in reminding myself of the value of tables, I manually drew one some years ago and wrote it up with birthdays for family and special friends. Christmas is a demanding time and is what it is. Unless a birthday fell at Christmas, the festival did not come into the equation.
When I had finished filling in the various boxes with names and dates, I was very surprised to see which was my busiest month of the year for birthdays. Call it illusory, call it a blind spot, call it what you like……for some unfathomable reason,(if reason there was) I was sure that my largest group of birthday greetings were in a different month of the year. But, there it was, written in my own fair hand with all the details, all of which had been checked. There was no getting away from it, that particular period was where I was likely to be busiest greeting people and making up some parcels, especially for the children, who had birthdays at that time.
The next step was to progress to spreadsheets. It was not difficult to resist that temptation. I have a friend who does one at Christmas time. She totals up what she spends on everyone, with a separate column for what is spent on her children so, she can see the distribution of the spend.
What I have done though, is create a computerised table, much like the one I manually drew up. I added an extra column for Christmas gifts/greetings and suchlike. This is because I can then use one table for both purposes. I also note birth dates in the name column. Some people receive both birthday and Christmas greetings. I save the tables from year to year, as yet, I have not decided for how long. Like address books, some names disappear over time. I have found the tables incredibly useful to check back with, as, for example, I nearly gave the same gift to someone, two years running.
This is a month for birthdays, the youngest being aged 6. I won’t embarrass the others at the upper end of the scale.
My sister-in-law is the first one of the month and is a Valentine’s baby; we focus on the birthday. I have a large book for her which will take some concentrated reading; that shouldn’t be a problem as she is a keen reader. I don’t normally buy books for people, but the one chosen is a big hitter and I thought I’d risk it. There are one or two other gift items to join the book.
A good friend has a birthday two days later; She’s into arts and craft, gardening and croft farming. I found a lovely large box of threads and universal sewing machine accessories. I had put by some delightful sets of chopsticks in raffia cases as well. However, I am going to look at a couple of pieces of handmade pottery tomorow from a range I know she likes, then decide if the chopsticks set off the pottery.
The youngest one was relatively easy, I found just the thing to annoy her parents when I was on my travels in December 2005 – a bubble blower and all the bubbles come out of a big box that requires a very strong bubbling solution. :>
Hubby is next: for the first time ever, I have been low on ideas. I have booked for us to go out for a meal with a couple of friends, but that is nearly a week before the birthday so I have to dream up something for the day itself. I have one or two token items and tonight I got some inspiration online and ordered a large road atlas to replace the tiddly little thing that he has in the car. The road atlas he has is one of those with a spiral spine which cuts through the very bit of road you want to travel through, every time, without fail. Even he has some expletive moments with it. It has got to go! Anyway, it is more than three years old. As a last resort, I think I shall have to consider one of the standard standby items – a thermal vest. Now how exciting is that… 🙄