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Some Funds Towards Whatever Your Heart Desires, from CSN Stores

And on to more prizes. The giving of presents is one of the ways High WASPs, ordinarily quite averse to visible abundance, indulge without remorse. When we were little, 4 kids in the family meant presents in heaps and mounds around a sparkly tree.

Speaking of which, some present-intensive holidays are just around the corner. What better occasion for a $75 gift certificate from CSN Stores, the lodestar of ‘Buy whatever you like for whomever you fancy?’

They ask that I include a link to, using the words ‘end table.’ That’s easy. I would like an end table, which I would in fact put into the hall bathroom, to deal with the embarrassing male habit of scattering reading matter about. An end table with a convenient drawer. Please. Thank you. Moving on.

I’d also rather enjoy finding this rollaway under my tree. The Hartman that has accompanied me lo these many years served gallant but is quietly requesting retirement. And the Samsonite color is so outré it bounds right over tasteless into ironic classic. They call it Solar Rose. Well. OK then.

Samsonite Solar Rose Suitcase

My niece might like this for Hanukkah. She’s a pet person.

My Dad would love this. He’s also a pet person. If his dog liked it he’d even put up with collateral squeaking.

Today I’d like to hear a little story about a nice present you once gave, or got, for whichever present-laden holiday you may celebrate.

I almost feel like I’m cheating, asking for anecdotes, rolling in detailed riches I may not deserve. But I am honored that you tell your stories here. Thank you.

All images from CSN Stores

33 Responses

  1. Here’s my story. I couldn’t choose a BEST but instead I chose a memorable. I was in high school, very much wanted a dark green cashmere sweater. I knew where some packages were hidden and I stooped to peeking. There was indeed a cashmere sweater. Brown! Oh Christmas I was prepared with what I’m sure was a fake smile. I opened my present and found the perfect GREEN cashmere sweater. Years later, in a moment of confession I told my Mother. She said the store didn’t have a green one but would order it and she took a brown was as a “place holder” in case the green didn’t arrive on time.

    There, you now know I sneek peeks.


  2. Oh I once received the most incredible present from a beau who was trying to win my heart, a beribboned spindly tree branch to which he had attached walnut shells. Odd ? A little but he had halved each walnut shell and filled it with quotes/ teensy little gifts and then glued them back together again.
    Alas, I could never see him as anything more than a friend.

  3. One of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received was a handmade cookbook.

    When I started dating my now husband, he ate a full meal every night – a protein, a starch and a vegetable – what I referred to as a thing, a thing and a thing. Being a 30something single gal, I usually had a salad or wine and cookies or something similar for dinner. My friend Elizabeth decided this was unacceptable, if we were to ever marry me off, so she contacted my family and closest friends and got their favorite dinner recipes. She compiled them into a book, titled, A Thing, A Thing and A Thing. :-)

  4. The best Christmas gift I ever received was my daughter in a stocking at the hospital. She as born Christmas eve.
    It’s a gift that keeps on giving, even after soon to be 32 years!

  5. I love to give gifts and finding the perfect thing can be a challenge, particularly on a budget. Fortunately I have some minor talent and am able to create gift objects that people will actually enjoy and display (and not just when they know I’m coming over). Recently I presented a dear friend with a small (4″ across, 1.5″ tall)coiled pine needle basket, adorned with a few feathers attached with iridescent glass beads, and lined with a circle of the softest suede. The cost to me, pennies and many hours of happily busy hands. Received as if I were presenting precious gems. It makes me as happy as it makes the recipient.

  6. A boyfriend gave me a belt sander. He still thinks it was odd, but it was one of the best gifts I have ever gotten – I was refinishing a dresser and had discovered sanding by hand was a pain, especially when one is trying to remove layers of ugly green paint from a lovely oak dresser. I especially liked it because it showed he had really thought about what I might like and use.

    Last year, my husband told me he would not ask me to visit his parents with him for all of 2010. I’m hoping he gives me the same gift for 2011. :)

  7. One of the nicest and unexpected gifts I ever received was on our 10th wedding anniversary…

    a little background is necessary here…
    we had very little disposable income , I was a stay at home mother of 2, we also had a substantial mortgage and were in the midst of a major renovation…not to mention swimming, ballet and hockey for the kids!
    my husband had stashed away a little mad money each month for many months unbeknownst to me and surpised me with diamond earrings on the evening as we were about to go out for our “annual dinner out”
    he said “honey don’t you think something is missing?”
    I looked in the mirror puzzled and from behind his back came a small velvet box…and then the tears.
    I immediately put on the diamonds…and what sparklers!…they matched the twinkle in my husbands eyes!
    It’s a memory that I cherish.

  8. Last year we were going to Tanzania to visit my daughter for Christmas who was volunteering at an orphanage for six months. The cost of the trip was such that it could have funded the entire orphanage for six months. We decided no presents, no cards and no trimmings for Christmas other than the safari that we would share as a family. My birthday is also in December and a dear, dear girlfriend decided to break our agreement and purchase for me an amazing camera that not only was perfect for the trip, but helped me to begin blogging regularly with ease.

    Giving a perfect, meaningful & heartfelt gift to someone that I love is one of the things that I enjoy most.

    You do give great parties, don’t you? Love this!
    Thank you!

  9. I never enter giveaways- but since you’re calling them presents, it’s a go!
    I once was in Cleveland on business and bought some great toys for my neices and nephews and had them wrapped at Higbees. I took the pile home, and distributed them at Christmas- and the kids opened slippers, shirts, and socks(who would wrap socks?). Higbees had gotten my wrapped presents mixed up with someone else’s – the gifts were ecentually exchanged and the real ones given. But, on Christmas, my nephew’s face when he opened up a box of woolen socks was priceless!!

  10. I gave my son a collection of first edition sports books every year for six or seven years to encourage reading and collecting, He was about eight or nine when I started.

  11. Several years ago, my great-aunt (a devoted quilter) came across a quilt that her grandmother had made. Since it was too fragile to use on a bed anymore, she cut apart the quilt blocks, and distributed them to her children and nieces and nephews. For years, my parents pondered what to do with a single, antique quilt block. Last year, they had it properly framed and matted (acid-free, UV-blocking glass, the whole nine yards), and gave it to me as a bridal shower gift. Wow. I’ve never even seen a picture of my great-great-grandmother, but I have this work of her hands hanging in my guest room.

  12. Best gift has to be a necklace from Tiffany; it was replacing one I lost that meant *the world* to me, for reasons too lengthy to post. It is representative of a mother’s love in more ways than one, and I’m forever grateful for the generosity that spurred the gift. On both occasions.

    Sending you a smile,

  13. Solar Rose? Looks purple to me…

    The Young One reminded me today of a present that was unexpected but well-appreciated. Darling Daughter collects Barbie dolls (yeah, I know…). For Christmas 2001, right after 9/11, I bought her a lovely collectible of Barbie dressed as the Statue of Liberty – her costume was a Bob Mackie original design just for this doll. Darling Daughter was so surprised she burst into tears.

  14. We were broke when we were married, so broke in fact, my engagement was a thin gold band, no stone. The check bounced. Five years later, after a raucous house party which involved live lobsters crawling around the host’s living room, we celebrated our anniversary. I was given a diamond solitaire for that occasion. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant and I returned the solitaire to the store, knowing that we would need the money for a more important occasion. On our tenth anniversary, my husband took me to a lovely jewelry store. I was wearing baby number two in the back pack. He chose a lovely diamond which was a little larger. And then, he chose two side stones which were to symbolize the two children, who were, thankfully, born in the same month. This time, no other circumstances got in the way. What a lovely gift.

  15. First, I love the new blog layout. Tres fab.
    One gift I loved giving was a quilt I made for my sister’s doll when I was little. I think I was around 9 or 10 and I asked my grandmother to teach me to quilt so that I could make this for her birthday. My grandfather had made her a doll bed the previous Christmas and I was so excited to make a quilt she could use on it and spend the time learning with my grandmother.

    A somewhat recent gift I received was a surprise. On mother’s day when I handed my mother her present, she handed me one! She had bought a necklace we had enjoyed seeing FF wear on Faux Fuschia from the Red Pheonix Emporium. She was too excited to wait until Christmas. I love it and wear it weekly.

  16. When my twin babies turned one year old, I decided to give them something, apart from the usual toys, that they would be able to keep (hopefully) for the rest of their lives.
    We move a lot,to different countries, and sometimes different continents, and while I love this type of life, I am not sure how my babies will feel about it when they grow up. So I wanted to give them something that would help them cope with the distance from those they love and who love, and who will most probably be scattered around the globe.
    I ordered 2 wooden boxes, decorated with découpage (flowers and fairies for Zoe, antique cars, trains and hot air balloons for Luka). The base color of the outside is cream/buttery. On the inside, Zoe’s is yellow, Luka’s is blue, and on the inside cover they have a handwritten inscription that reads: May you always know that you are loved. But the most important part is not the boxes themselves, but what they keep: I asked all friends and family, from all 5 continents, to send me an email or write a letter (whichever they preferred) with a good wish for Luka and for Zoe, something nice they would like them to know and to treasure for the rest of their lives, and to do it in their native language to represent the different ways in which Luka and Zoe are loved (with a translation into English if it was not one of the 4 family languages). Most of them arrived by email, and then I printed them in a nice paper, and put them in their boxes. I also bought a nice map of world and made a silver dot in the cities where each of the wishes came from, and I added them also to the box. And I added a letter to each of them, explaining them that what these boxes are actually “love storage boxes”and they are intended as a reminder that, wherever we are, all around the world there is people loving them, wishing them well, and happy that they are alive. And that I hope that, whenever they feel lonely they would open the box, and remember that.

  17. I was 15 at the time .My father had just lost his company we had also lost our family home.We were living in a very shabby little council house in the U.K.My mother asked my 13 year old brother and I to vote.Either we could have a traditional Christmas dinner and all the trimmings or gifts.We chose the meal.But on Christmas morning on my plate was a little gift.A lovley sage green eyeshadow!thats my best gift ever.

  18. My favorite gift memory is when my husband bought me my first “good” camera. I had wanted one for so long, and we really couldn’t afford it at the time, with two babies in the house. But he surprised me with it anyway, and it has taken so many photographs of my sweet little darlings. Definitely the gift that kept giving.
    Wonderful giveaways!

  19. my baby sister is a crossword fanatic. do not even talk to her if you see a new york times in her hands and a frustrated look on her face. this summer i was struggling to come up with the perfect birthday gift for her. on a work trip i was flipping through the skymall catalog, and lo and behold, they sell a “world’s larget crossword puzzle.” cheesy? yes. tacky? absolutely. the perfect gift? YES. i ordered it and had it shipped to her. a week later i receive a phone call that consisted of her squealing about how it takes up an ENTIRE wall and how excited she is, the best present she’s ever received. mission accomplished.

  20. When my brother was first getting into road cycling several years back, he got a fancy light road bike, but still had the (easier to use, but heavier) clipped pedals on his bike. Clipless pedals seemed to be the perfect birthday gift to complete his cycling kit. Little did I know that he may have had a good reason for delaying his use of clipless pedals. In a note of thanks, he expressed his appreciation of the “Rob Lastname Memorial Pedals – because I know they’ll be the death of me.”

  21. My mother loves John Denver. Every year she gets so excited to play the Christmas CD he recorded with The Muppets. It’s a family favorite – all 4 kids love it and when I was in kindergarten, shortly before I moved, my sister and I recorded our own version of one of John Denver’s Christmas songs. We gave it to my teacher (who was honestly probably a little weirded out).
    Last year I did some extensive research on John Denver and Christmas as a procrastination technique to avoid my senior thesis. Eventually I came across a man who had a DVD recording of John Denver and the Muppets from an HBO airing. He lived in Scotland. We emailed back and forth quite a bit because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get ripped off. When the package finally arrived with an airmail stamp my mother was dying to know what it was.
    When she opened her present Christmas morning she started crying “at my thoughtfulness”. The waterworks started again when she watched the show later and got to see her favorite singer performing with her favorite Muppets. I knew I had done a good job and that honestly felt better than any present I’d ever given her. (Now this year I’m struggling to come up with something to top it!)

  22. One of my favorite presents I’ve ever gotten was a huge box of dress up clothes for Christmas. My mom decorated a big trunk, and filled it will a bunch of her clothes and shoes and the most frilly, shinny, over the top clothes from the secondhand store, plus wands, crowns, etc. My sisters, friends and I must have gotten 100’s of hours of play out of it.

  23. My dad got me an air compressor for my car. It’s an entirely practical present but it sure makes it easier to fill up my tires!

  24. My husband is great at gift-giving. He gave me charm bracelet and the first charm was an iris. He chose and iris because it’s the national flower of Croatia, which is where we were when we started dating (after being friends for ten years). Since then, he’s added charm after significant charm, and I wear my bracelet every day.

  25. I will be a party pooper…I do not enjoy getting presents because invariably it is too expensive, too fragile, too big, too small, too too…I very much prefer to be the giver. I savor the gift giving as much for the experience and pleasure of getting the right gift and the giftee’s response.

  26. Whenever I’m asked something like this, the first thing that comes to mind is the gigantic purple MagLight flashlight my parents gave me my first Christmas during college. At the time I didn’t appreciate it, but I’ve come to realize it’s one of the most useful gifts I’ve ever received!

  27. It seems I have come to the party late…better late then never right? :)

    I think my most memorable gifts are those my kids or grandkids have made for me or picked out all by themselves. The year I remember the most is the year that things were really tough financially so I couldn’t buy any of them Christmas gifts. My granddaughter must have been about 6 years old. They happened to fly home that Christmas so she came bearing all these gifts she had either picked out and bought or made by herself. She individually wrapped every single gift for me. It was the sweetest thing ever and she continues to be just as sweet at 11.

  28. My favorite holiday gift was an antique silver necklace given to me by my parents. On the front is a snowflake and on the bag is inscribed “So perfect are you unlike any other”…this remains one of my most treasured possessions…I don’t wear it often but I often open my jewelry chest and look at it. I plan on passing in on to my own daughter some day.

  29. I grew up far from my grandparents, who lived a plane ride away. As I was getting old enough to travel alone, I began to fly out to see them over Thanksgiving as an early birthday present. One year I flew home after a wonderful time with my grandparents to another present–a freshly decorated and “grown up” room! The pure shock of walking into a room with new bedding, freshly painted walls and other goodies was one of the best surprises ever. :)

  30. Best present ever: When I was 21 (1987)and living in a cold drafty rental house during college, my mother made me a comforter. We had sheep at home so she sent some fleece to the Zeilinger Woolen Mill in Frankenmuth MI to be carded and made into batting, enclosed in muslin. Then Mom sewed the duvet cover. I still sleep under it every night in cold weather. This summer I sent it back to the mill to be re-carded and have a new muslin put on. It’s as good as new.

    Oldest son was conceived on Christmas Eve 1989, but I don’t think I’ll write about that….

  31. The best gift I ever received was not a surprise, but it was memorable nevertheless. For a milestone birthday my husband gave me a trip to Italy with my sewing mentor and founder of the Fashion Sewing Group, Nancy Erickson. I had mentioned the trip to him when Nancy announced it in her newsletter, never dreaming that I could go. When my birthday rolled around, he asked me if I would like to go. Would I?? It was a wonderful 10 days in Rome, Florence, Milan, Como, and the wool and silk producing cities in the north of Italy. We saw fashion houses, textile mills, the Sistine Chapel early in the morning ahead of the other tourists, and lots of other special things. I’ll never forget that birthday present.

  32. I am a regular reader and love your perspective, LPC.

    One of the best presents that I ever received was following the birth of my first child. It had been a difficult and high risk pregnancy and my husband travelled often. My husband’s sister was getting married on the other side of the country and he was in the wedding party. (It’s a long story…he had to be there. I wanted him to be there.) Still, I was a zombie. My mother agreed to stay with with us for as long as we needed. Which turned out to be about three weeks. Because she was there, I could nap and shower and enjoy our new baby. When I look back, I can’t believe she dropped her life at a moments notice for three weeks for her 35 year old daughter(and new grandchild). I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her. Her gift of time was precious to us all and will never be forgotten.

    To win this present at this time would literally be a godsend.

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