Gift guides are an inspiring and helpful aspect of blogland this time of year. It’s nice to read a favorite blog and learn about a new something or other that you might never have seen before. Or to be reminded of a trick you have up your own sleeve. Or get enlightened about someone else’s approach to the season.
But lots of gift guides—even my own—err on the side of extravagance. I can appreciate extravagance. In the ultimate aspirational mood I will gladly fill a post with the very loveliest things from the very loveliest shops; things that in my imagination I would generously be able to bestow upon all of my nearest and dearest. The reality, of course, is that I usually need to reign in the extravagance a bit. I might be able to get a very special gift for, say, James, but my pockets aren’t deep enough to do the same for everyone on my list. I included a whole range of gifts to buy and to make or do on last week’s gift guide—and truth be told, some of them are virtually free—but I wanted to make another guide for gifts that are still simpler.
I think we all have people on our lists who we love deeply, but for whom crafting a full-on holiday extravaganza—for reasons of time and finances—might be out of the realm of possibility. Hand-knitting a blanket for everyone in the family, for instance, is noble, but Heaven help you. Planning a Costa Rican vacation? In my dreams.
So here, a gathering of simple gifts. They’re gifts that require little in the way of time or resources, but that are nonetheless nice to give and nice to receive. Some of these gifts are things to buy. Some of them are things to make. None of them should require a year’s work to pull off. With a few exceptions, I’ve kept everything on the list to under twenty dollars.
Sweet Tooth, Two Ways
+ Blueberry, dewberry, and vine maple, straight from the source.
+ A cinnamon and cardamom-scented stove-top treat.
Light, Two Ways
+ A bulb good for decades.
+ A set of candles to make yourself.
If you have favorites of your own to add, please do. The more simple gift ideas, the absolute merrier.
PS. I wrote about my childhood—and adult—tradition of giving certificates on the Kaufmann Mercantile blog, Field Notes. Just in case you’re not sure what this certificate business is all about anyway. Full story, right this way.