Due to my general disdain for packed parking lots and overly-helpful salespeople, I buy holiday gifts year-round. The gift grab accelerates around August when the stores anticipate my needs and have nodding, LED-light reindeer and chocolate covered cherries near the late summer fruit.
I like storing a box in the closet filled with Yuletide readiness. This prevents the last-minute gift card purchases and guessing which chain stores are located near the homes of my Bay Area relatives.
For those who still need a gift for a relative or two, you have one more Saturday to shop at the Chico Farmers Market, East Second and Flume streets.
I don’t know about your family, but sometimes my glad-tidings think tank runs dry.
When I was 7 years old, I bought my father a wallet. He was so pleased I bought him a wallet each year for the next 30 years.
I probably would have continued what had become a family joke. However, one year someone actually needed a wallet. Dad went to the back of his closet and found a box filled with 15 nearly-new wallets.
I think this was the year I bought Dad a Leatherman.
When I think of gifts for my Mom, it’s easy. I just by something for myself, then double it.
One year I found a new smudge-proof eyeliner, and recommended the product to my Mom.
“When you find something you really like why don’t you just buy me one,” she said in that mom way that sounds like a reprimand.
This year I had no problem buying myself many new things.
As for the farmers market, food is never the wrong size and doesn’t bust your budget.
I also love to show my urban relatives how living close to open space means we eat well. Candied or plain almonds, fresh mandarins, sumptuous local apples, kiwis, jam, granola and olive oil can all be purchased in one tour at the market. You can also find soap, ceramics or a pig crafted from miscellaneous metal parts.
If you stop at the booth that sells the colorful, woven baskets, you don’t even need gift wrap.
Making baked goods or fudge is also a lovely gift. However, that year I made fudge balls I gained eight pounds.
Gift cards have their place, of course. Teens, for example, love to receive plastic cash. The only drawback is you must reveal how much you spent.
MORE GIFTS OF FOOD
This year my Hacking clan is heading to Disneyland for a much-anticipated adventure to see the mouse. The Handsome Woodsman. Dave, and I joined them two years ago. We had so much fun we suggested we all do it again.
Months ago I made a reservation for four to the Blue Bayou Restaurant, inside the Pirates of Caribbean. ride. I’ve fantasized about eating there since my first Disney trip. We’ll be surrounded by fireflies and will hear the clink of utensils and the distant hoots of riders as they splash down into make-believe Louisiana waters.
I’ll change the reservation to three and bring my rubber chicken.
As regular readers know, Dave died in a car accident Nov. 1. It’s going to be a tough holiday season no matter where I am. I considered skipping theme park vacation. Yet, I don’t think anyone will notice if I shed a few tears at the happiest place on earth.
Last week I mused about cut flowers and the tradition of bouquets for funerals. After the musical memorial, flowers now cover almost every surface in my small house.
The funeral seems like just yesterday, but I noticed that the flowers have started to fade. I realized that bouquets help us mark the passing of time.