The more I understand my fundamental wants, the less sense my wish list makes. We should give gifts to each other every day, but buying that many things is impractical for anyone who has to spend time earning a living. That’s one reason Christmas and the holidays are popular. Even if you aren’t religious, you can enjoy getting and receiving gifts because it is such a rare event. When I was asked to put together a wish list I created a surprise. Almost everything I asked for didn’t require shopping as much as rummaging, and a lot of it couldn’t be wrapped in a bow or fit under the tree. Norman Rockwell couldn’t paint the goodies. The malls and big box stores won’t notice my lack of participation. Simple gifts given sincerely can be gifts that are remembered every day.
Before listing wishes, wants, and needs I want to reinforce the reality that gifts are always welcome, not because it is the thought that counts, but because it is the feeling that counts. If someone cared to give a gift, the response is always thank you, regardless. But, hey, this is my wish list, so here’s a bit of what I wish for.
There are plenty of things and stuff that I want. A new car would be a first. An ocean wherry, or even a sailboat would be firsts and fun. How about a new computer? This MacBook is old and my less-than-a-year-old Chromebook is acting aged. The next things that come to mind: a new roof, new windows, the fireplace replaced with a woodstove, the weathered south wall framing replaced with new wood, the broken kitchen appliances replaced with something from this century. My wishes quickly turn to the practical and pragmatic because, given my financial condition, even if I won the lottery I would find great relief from undeferred tens of thousands of dollars of deferred maintenance. The things I want are too expensive to be gifts for almost everyone I know.
My real wish list is much more realistic, but unconventional enough that I enjoy watching the reactions of people trying to adopt a new perspective.
An eternal favorite is food, and drink, and etc. I enjoy cooking. It is probably my prime entertainment. What I create wouldn’t show up on the Food Network, but I like my cooking. If you shopping for gifts for a foodie you know the appreciated things are more likely to come from a grocery store or herb shop than a gadget store. Wine is nice.; especially, if it came from Whidbey. Whiskey is nicer. Scotch is very nice. Homebrewed anything is best. (And those of you in the upper left hand corner of the map know that a gram can be a present too.) Cheese, more cheese please. Make Wallace and Grommit proud. Hey look, people are growing organic cheese on the island. Local salmon makes sense. Now, there’s even local beef.
There’s one of the problems. I like local, which isn’t much of a help to anyone on the mainland. Localvores may shift the old-style economy, but not as much during Christmas.
Having gone through decluttering voluntarily and by necessity, more stuff isn’t the answer. The fun part, however, comes from finding someone who is trying to declutter something that just happens to be something I want, and vice versa. Finding homes for a couple of floor cushions, a couple of healthy houseplants, an old Roomba that needs a battery, things that are worth something but that didn’t sell at the carport sale. I give something away and get space for a gift. Maybe it gets filled with something I want and need. (If you want to help an artist declutter, buy some of their older art. Photos and books available.)
I hate waste. It is one of the few times I use that four letter word. That’s all the more reason to pass along the leftovers. Leftovers can be anything. I’m still finishing soup made from Thanksgiving leftovers. (The turkey stock was a very tasty gift.) Too much firewood to store, too many apples to keep, too much soil to dump, too many seeds to plant. If you’re above the poverty level you probably have some excess, unless you are an ultra-minimalist, in which case I applaud you. It is a relief to know that there’s less going into the landfill.
Help is one of the finest gifts. Help someone fix something and that gift can be remembered every day. Help tackle some invasive weed like blackberries and the plants may thank you too.
Every time I mow my lawn I thank my neighbor who gave a lawnmower he found for free on craigslist. I was mowing the lawn with a push reel mower, the type powered by lunch. My lawn is small, but he didn’t like watching me fight the spring growth that gets ahead of us during the storms. He picked up and delivered the lawnmower, found the one piece that had to be replaced, gave me the mower for free, provided all the links to the manuals, and even suggested a fix that would probably be required in a year or so. He was right. The gift didn’t come on Christmas, and I won’t be mowing the lawn for weeks, but the value of that gift is refreshed every time I make my lawn suburban proper.
The simple gifts are sincerely received, even when the giver doesn’t know they gave a gift. I thank you for your gift. You’re read this far into this post. You have given your time. I thank you for your time. Time is precious.
The only thing more precious than time is emotions. One of the downsides of writing is there is rarely an opportunity to see if a reader receives an emotion. This post is not overly emotional. If I crafted it better, and took hours, I might be able to dive into our common cores. My goal was to write about my wish list, not make you weep. We all carry a gift there, though. Emotions like love and caring, given as nouns and verbs, can’t be wrapped in bows, aren’t bought in the stores, and have few advertisements for them; but, they always have a place on my wish list for me, and my wish list for all of us.
Now, after this storms stops I’ll be able to get to making some wreaths from my property’s herbs and maybe I’ll make a few extra cookies (without the extra special herb for those cookies going out of state.)