Thursdays with Deb J ~ Gifts of Cheer

Deb J

Deb J

As you all know, my mother was recently in the hospital. In the last three weeks people have tried to give her all sorts of things. Meals, flower bouquets, plants, and candy. Thankfully, they all asked me before they did anything. What a relief that was because I could say no. No we do not need meals because we are both on special diets due to health concerns and Mom has little appetite. No we do not need flowers and plants. We react to the smell of the flowers and we have more plants than I want already. No we do not want candy. She can’t have chocolate right now and as diabetics we also shouldn’t have the sugar. I told them what she wanted more than anything was their prayers and visits.

My aunt and one of our good friends insisted on getting us something. Mom suggested we go with an artificial centerpiece for the one table and some type of Christmas decoration. Then they asked us if we would like to go pick it out. We said yes and did so yesterday. What a relief.

At first I thought some might think me rude to respond this way. Then I realized that they had all asked me what to get. They knew it would be hard to get Mom something due to her food issues and allergies. That is why they asked.

This had me thinking about all the “occasions” when we tend to want to encourage or show our care by sending a gift of some kind. I think about those occasions like hospitalizations, long-term sickness, deaths, graduations, retirements, etc. We have been taught over the years to give “things.” In some instances, we have even been taught WHAT to give.

I think this may be an area we could spend time thinking before acting. Does a person really need plants, flowers, candy, books, meals etc? Or, do they need our time and attention? None of these things are wrong. We just might need to think before we do these things. We might just want to ask what is preferred. Just saying.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter any kitchen utensils or gadgets that you don’t use often enough to warrant keeping. ~ Who isn’t on the lookout for something that can make our workload lighter. When it comes to the home the kitchen is a major source of this focus. The problem is that many of the gadgets on the market don’t live up to their promise to lighten that load. The utensils drawer ends up with three different styles of peelers, can openers, potato mashers etc and the shelves are packed with all manner of electric gadgets. I must say that some credit has to be given to anyone who still believes on home cooking rather than caving into buying, not always healthy, prepared meals, but be sceptical about the usefulness or such gadgets.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. You are so right about this and it was good that people asked first. I recently visited a friend in the hospital for a broken leg and asked her what she would really like brought to her. Surprise – it was a large diet Coke with lots of ice! When I was in the hospital for an extended time years ago Hubby brought me some good coffee for breakfast and I was thrilled. Asking first has been my motto ever since.

    • Juhli, I just love it when people ask. Even for things like birthday and Christmas. I’ve taken people in the hospital things like a big glass of sweet tea, coke, ice cream, hamburger, etc. Of course, I always check to make sure they are allowed to have it according to diet restrictions when they are in the hospital. I’ve also taken books, magazines, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, etc. With my Mom I took in cards and we played Hand & Foot.

    • Good gift choices Juhli. I sent out a blanket email to the family members participating in Secret Santa letting them all know what I would like. I figured I was doing us both a favour.

      • This is great! I have participated in Secret Santas where we are asked to sign up with a list of 3 things or types of things we would like (within the price range) as well as favorite color and notes of anything we need them to know such as food allergies.

  2. Deb, your posts are always so insightful. Thanks for giving me something new to consider. I’ve always gone the flowers route for people in the hospital, but it would be much more helpful to ask them what they would like before bringing them something.

    • Thanks, Valerie. I can understand people not thinking about this. We are “programed” to buy certain things for occasions like this. I love flowers and would love to receive them. Unfortunately, I am allergic to them along with all perfumes and perfumed items like candles. So you can imagine what it is like when these are the types of things people tend to bring/give. I remember when someone brought a friend candy–she was in the hospital with a blood sugar of 350. Don’t think she should be eating that candy. These are the kinds of things that made me want to write this post.

  3. Good post, Deb J – I can understand why people want to shower sick/incapacitated people with meals and flowers and whatnot, its very thoughtful and kind offer but it may not be the help that will be appreciated.

    Another option is does the patient need something practical like mobile phone credit, something from the supermarket like shampoo or a few years back, a friend in hopspital asked if he could borrow an ipod.

    • Moni, you have the idea. Sometimes meals are really nice to receive. Sometimes you need someone to go to the store for you or run the vacuum, dust, do laundry, loan them an iPod, loan them a iPad or Kindle. Or maybe just come visit and play a game with them. Ask and you will hear the need.

  4. Firstly – I haven’t seen all of the recent 365 posts/comments, but I really hope your mum is feeling better now and is on the mend.

    Secondly – You couldn’t have timed this post better! I have had this problem all week!

    My birthday is coming up soon and I was asked what I wanted, so I said vouchers for the craft shop I get a lot of supplies from. My family didn’t like this idea, and so then proceeded to ask me the following:

    ‘What about make-up?’ (I haven’t worn make up for the last 4 years except on special occasions).

    ‘What about shoes?’ (I can’t remember the last time I wore the one pair of heels I own; shoes need to be practical and comfy).

    ‘What about clothes?’ (My version of ‘fashion’ is buying whatever I see that I like, usually jeans and a nice top)

    This just went on and on as we went through all of the stereotypical gifts women are *meant* to like and receive on birthdays/Christmas – no matter how much I tried to tell them I’d be incredibly happy with the vouchers for my sewing, they just didn’t hear me. This is despite the fact I actually live with these family members and every time they come to say hello or to talk to me I’m sewing away! What I really don’t understand is that going shopping for a gift I don’t want would take them a lot longer than walking into the craft shop and asking for a gift card. Even worse is I can see the ‘you’re so hard to buy for’ comments coming soon too.

    Has anyone else ever had this problem? When I was a big reader it was the same scenario when I asked for book vouchers.

    • I know what you are saying Jane. Is gift giving all about giving people something they don’t want just because the giver thinks they should have better taste? Life can be weird at times.

      • Wow – this is an odd scenario. Considerate to ask what you would like, but then to disregard what you said? Yikes. And I can also see the “you are so hard to buy for” coming down the road. Sorry Jane. 🙁

    • I sort of had this problem with a now-ex-boyfriend of mine. “What do you want for Valentine’s Day?” “Anything but red roses and chocolate. Red roses have a negative connotation for me personally and I hate chocolate.” Guess what he got me for Valentine’s Day? Red roses and a box of chocolates. ::headdesk::

      My daughter has this issue with her dad. He asks her (and me) what she wants for -insert special occasion here- and she tells him a gift card to a bookstore or Amazon. Failing that, cash works well too. She gets clothes from a store she doesn’t like and, sometimes, a gift card to said store. It is frustrating for her because she means it when she say a gift card or cash. She likes to pick her own items.

      I think it is more thoughtful to give a person what they ask for than to give them what you think you should be giving them. I am sorry your family can’t grasp that.

      • RachelW, ah yes. Good examples of this issue. I really don’t understand why people can’t just do what we ask. There’s got to be a reason but I sure don’t understand it.

    • I wonder if their reluctance is a result of you asking for a voucher? Perhaps asking for a specific sewing-related item would prove a more satisfying gift-giving experience for them. Maybe you could choose an item that you don’t feel too fussy about. Then they’d have the opportunity to put some thought into the gift, maybe choosing a colour or style they think you’ll like.

      • I think it’s mostly because they don’t understand my hobbies at all, they don’t get why I like to sit for hours and sew. But they like make-up/clothes/shoes etc. and they just can’t grasp that I don’t feel the same way. I guess I could be more specific than a voucher, but I feared that they would find this too difficult or complex to shop for and so I felt the voucher would be easier for them – then I could go get what I like and then show them after. I think this is kind of the crux of the problem, because my other half *gets it* – he understands why I like my hobby, even if he has no wish to do it himself.

        I think Colleen is right though, that gift-giving seems to be more about giving an object, no matter what it is, rather than making the person happy. Something to think about when I’m Christmas shopping this year! Perhaps in retrospect I will take on board everything Deb J and everyone else said, and make an extra effort this year to make sure my gifts are something the recipient would REALLY enjoy and not fall into the trap of ‘I would like this, so you will too.’

        • I see what you mean. It would be difficult not to feel a little put out that they don’t seem to see the value in what you love.

          You make the most important point of all though. We need to be careful not to contribute to the problem ourselves. I’ll certainly be giving this more thought as Christmas approaches!

        • Jane, I think you are right in that people don’t understand your hobby. Part of it is also that they don’t understand our tastes. For example, I like jigsaw puzzles but I don’t want just any of them. I have a particular kind I like and it is hard to explain. I like to read but there are only certain kinds of books I like. So for me it is easier to suggest a gift card because then I can get what I like.

        • Jane – what about next tme adding to your request for vouchers that you want an (insert name) from that particular store and if you got enough vouchers you would have almost enough for it. When I initially switched to asking for vouchers for my kobo, there were one or two people who obviously thought I spend too much time reading or were not comfortable with the idea of vouchers – but when I mentioned a specific set of books on my shelf that were old and tatty that I re-read every Summer holidays, that I wanted to buy the digital version of, they were comfortable with that as there was something they could picture in their minds.

      • Tam, you may be right. Thing is, it’s sometimes hard to be specific because we want to go and pick what we want and we won’t know until we get there. I LIKE to shop with someone elses money. Grin.

    • Yes, a lot of people want to give a specific gift. For those, perhaps you can make a list of yarn by brand and color so they can have something to wrap up and still give you what you want.

      • Oops, not yarn, sewing supplies. That could be a bit harder to list than yarn, but if you do have specific thread, zippers, fabric, elastic etc. that you use, you could list those. To get them to understand your joy about your hobby, maybe mention once in a while how happy it makes you and how you feel when you create through sewing, much like a sculpter, painter or other artist. They may be able to relate better when they understand you are not sewing just for practical needs but that you really delight in the process and the creativeness of it. I would love to sew well, and I have dabbled in it, and my meager attempts delight me when something lovely actually turns out. I have a friend that loves to knit and describes it so beautifully-she gets completely lost in delicious thought and all her stresses melt away like she is on a little vacation…she says she goes somewhere else while she knits. Describe it like that, and they might want to have such a happy hobby! 🙂

  5. Jane, thanks for asking about my Mum. She is doing much better. On Nov. 6th she will have another angiogram with stent. This artery is not as bad.

    Yes, I have had the problem you have mentioned. I don’t understand why people can’t get me what I want. It is very frustrating. It’s the same for Mom. I told both my aunt and our friend that she didn’t need/want anything. They were so insistent we finally got the two things we did. Added to that we actually went and picked them out and they paid for them. Now isn’t that a hoot?! Sheesh! I really don’t understand it. For years we would be asked for a list of things we wanted and then would get nothing on the list. We finally just told people we didn’t want gifts.

    • As frustrating as it is, I’m glad I’m not alone. I may have to adopt your approach of just saying I don’t want anything, I think its easier than battling to try get them to listen to me.

      I hope all goes well for on the 6th, I will think of you both.

      • Jane, try it. You never know, it might work. Thanks for your thoughts on the 6th.

      • I used to not appreciate it when someone said they didn’t want anything, particularly if they always gave me a gift. I guess I didn’t really believe it but thought they were being polite. In recent years I’ve said that too-sometimes out of politeness, and usually because I don’t need anything or the one thing I do want is to expensive to ask for. There is an older relative in my husband’s family that always says he doesn’t need anything. Years ago it used to bug me because I thought “he is SO hard to shop for” and we always get something anyway. I finally realized we were probably giving him gobs of things he didn’t want; so it dawned on me finally to give him food! For every gift, he gets his favorite chocolates, cakes delivered for his birthday, and gift cards to his favorite restaurants. Now it is truly a joy to give him gifts he can use and enjoy and that don’t leave behind clutter.

        • Angela – my husband has always told the kids he just wants a big bar of chocolate but they have never taken it seriously. It came up in conversation recently and the kids felt a $3-$5 bar if chocolate wasn’t enough to show their appreciation or love. And I get what they mean. So I thought maybe a variety of smaller bars in some sort of arrangement so that there was still the ‘effort’ and ‘delight’ factor in the un-wrapping.

          • Moni, another thing they might do is give him one a month. It means they have thought of him throughout the year. It would be fun to look for exotic or different ones.

        • Angela, good for you. It sounds like you found something good for that gift.

    • Deb, praying for your mom! And you too!

  6. Hi Deb J, Thanks for this very thought-provoking post, and I’m very glad to hear that your Mom is doing better, I hope all will go well for her with the procedure next week.

    Last year a friend of mine was suddenly taken ill and ended up in the hospital for two weeks. You should have seen all the flowers and plants she received, but what she really wanted, apart from to get out of there as soon as possible, was some regular pillow cases so that she could sleep more comfortably on the hospital pillows. I would never have thought of that if she hadn’t asked me to get them.

    Even though plants and flowers are lovely and the most obvious thing to cheer someone up, they also bring their own problems. When my friend left the hospital she had to haul all that stuff out, not the easiest thing to do when you are feeling weak. She came to stay with me for a few days to convalesce so my house was suddenly full of plants, which set off my husband’s allergies. And when I took her home I had to haul everything up to her 3rd floor apartment! I was given lots of plants and flowers when I had my babies, but truly the last thing I wanted to do was deal with all those things, I was finding it hard enough to cope with two premature infants and my own recovery. One of the kindest things a friend did for me in those early days was come to my house, insist that I go and rest for a couple of hours while she looked after the babies and cooked a simple evening meal for me and my husband. She was a nurse and probably knew that a short sleep in those early days of motherhood were a treasured gift!

    • Christine, that nurse was wonderful. That’s the type of thing that people should do. I remember when my father died. We asked that instead of flowers people donate to our choir fund at church. Well, there were a lot of people who didn’t want to do that. So we ended up with 20 sprays of flowers and about 20 plants. We gave the flowers to a nursing home to put around in the common rooms. Mom kept a lot of the plants and moved them with us to several places we lived after that. Ugh!

  7. Hi Deb, I am glad your mom is doing much better now and wish her success with the next procedure.

    Gift giving is the weirdest custom at times. It seems to me it is more about being seen to give rather than actually trying to please the receiver. It is always a fabulous occasion when someone is excited to give a gift and the recipient is happy to receive it. I have a friend who loves to buy gifts, she is an all round beautiful person. I tried to convince her I didn’t want gifts but in the end we compromised on her giving consumable gifts. She usually takes me out for a nice morning or afternoon tea. I love that, her company and something yummy, what more could I want.

    • Colleen, I like that idea you gave your friend. To me I would rather have time with the friend or something like that. Much more meaningful to me.

  8. My mother, sister and I are pretty open and honest with each other as to what we would like. No offence is taken. For example, we will say, “I really need some new undies” or a tea towel. And then we will find the other a nice tea towel or whatever it is. And we always respect the other’s values. For example my sister will only buy or use cruelty-free make-up, so there is no point buying any old brand. We even say when we don’t want a thing. Or would rather have Mum’s special home cooked biscuits.

    We are able to be so open because we are close and we are family.

    It is not always easy to be so blunt with others, especially if they don’t “get” your bluntness. And think they are being rebuffed. But Deb, you gave them an option – to visit. You didn’t just say no gifts. And giving time is the most thoughtful and giving gift, I think.

    Glad things are not as bad as originally thought for your mother.

    • Hi Lucinda, this brings to mind the belated Fathers Day gift (We were away at the time) my daughter gave her dad on the weekend. She knows he loves shortbread so she made him a batch. He was very pleased. It is her go-to gift for him.

    • Lucinda, I think you are blessed to have family you can be so open with and they will listen. I have a couple of friends who are like that. They know that I love to read and that I have a Kindle. I get Amazon cards for most any occasion that comes along. Another example is that I know our pastor LOVES chocolate. So when we give him anything we always make him something chocolate.

  9. This is an excellent post. My mother recently passed away and I had to coordinate the services on my own. I was so grateful that people asked what I needed, because another bouquet was really not helpful (especially when I have a cat who will eat any plant materials and then end up in the kitty ER) – what I really needed was someone to pick up the food for the reception, and help shuttling elderly relatives back and forth from airports, hotels and the like.

    I think on some level people want to seem supportive without really having to do anything, and calling 1-800-FLOWERS is an easy way to do that. But in difficult situations, as in most of life, what’s really valuable is our time and attention.

    • EcoCatLady, you have given us a good example. Here’s another one. Some friends have had an aunt living with them for many years. She passed on recently and when someone asked their daughter what they would like she suggested they help clean up and redo the master bedroom and bath the aunt used so that our friends can take it over again. Now that’s helpful and it will mean help doing all that work.

    • I agree – time and attention take – surprise! time and thought! – so they’re not a quick, easy answer. But they’re certainly appreciated.

      I’m sorry for your loss, EcoCatLady. It’s hard when you are the bereaved one and you’re also the one in charge of making sure everyone else is looked after.

  10. I usually like to give a basket of fruits to family and friends hospitalized. Of course, if they are not diabetics.

  11. Deb J, great post once again. It’s so easy to spend money to show we care. But does it actually show that? Not if the person can’t have, doesn’t like, is allergic to, or just doesn’t want whatever the thing is that we want to buy. Time and company are always the best. And if the person in hospital is too ill to have company, there are nearly always one or more relatives who have been sitting with and tending to that person, and could use a break or a bit of company themselves. I hope your mom’s second procedure goes well.

    • Jo H, you are so right. We need to put thought into our gifts. And if we don’t know the people well enough to know what they like then we should either ask or forego the gift. Will keep everyone posted on how Mom does.

  12. What about gifts….
    …to the recipients favorite charity/cause?
    …of money?
    …of adventure (movie tickets and the like)?
    …that include a gift receipt/receipt so they can be returned, no questions asked?

    What about just accepting the gift graciously and then passing it on?

    I have mixed emotions on this topic. I see validity in the points being made, however, part of me says, stop the “all about me” and dictating who gives what and when. Why can’t we just accept gift giving as a gesture that we are important to the person/persons who were thoughtful enough to remember us in their own special way? I am still conflicted on this topic.

    • Kimberly, I understand your conflict. If someone gives me a gift I’m not fond of I just thank them and pass it on. The thing that really bothers me is for someone to ask and then either not get what was listed or insist on getting something when a person says they really don’t want anything.

  13. I remembered a short story I read as a girl from in a readers digest written by a lady who received news that her mother-in-law had died and her husband and her had to fly out the next day, but as her husband was (by recollection) the pastor of the local church there were a lot of arrangements that needed to be made, and the writer naturally felt a bit overwhelmed when there came a knock at the door and a very quiet man, a member of the church was there and he said he’d come to clean thejr shoes, an unusual thing, but as it had been rainy/muddy lately and the man was a cobbler, the lady reluctantly said she hadn’t decided which pair of shoes to wear to the funeral yet, would he mind if she brought out two pairs of shoes? He said, bring out all the familiesnshoes and they could decide later when they were further along with making arrangements. He set himself up in the laundry room and quietly left when he was done. All their shoes were lined up and cleaned and polished. The writer was overwhelmed at such kindness.
    This story stuck with me. While delivering a casserole or flowers would still be very considerate, it impressed on me that practical help is often more valued.

    • What a beautiful story and concept!

      Even in your sadness, when you looked down you would think of the kindness of them an who cleaned your shoes!

      • Lucinda – that short story has stayed with me probably upwards of 25-30 years. So often when we hear someone is going thru some sort of a crisis we ask them “what can I do to help?” Often the person is too befuddled to think what needs doing. But if I was to think in advance of a ‘signature offer of help’ that I could pull out and offer, it would be more practical.

    • Moni, I love this story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  14. Thanks for your post, Deb. My poor mother was stuck in hospital for a few weeks before she unexpectedly died. She loved the flowers, so it didn’t take much thought to keep up a fresh supply of colorful blooms to brighten her day a little. I think they made her feel loved. Since her appetite was poor and the hospital food was poorer, my sister and I would always ask her what she felt like eating and bring it along the next time we visited. I’d also make a point of saying, “I’m stopping at the shops before I come see you. What can I bring you?”, so she didn’t feel she was being a burden by asking for something special.

    It’s so hard to get these things right. As a receiver of gifts, I try remember that sometimes receiving a gift with love, compassion and gratitude can be an act of kindness (and a gift in turn).

    My mother didn’t have much money, but she loved to bring us bits and pieces that she found in op shops and bargain bins, especially toys and clothing for the children. The toys in particular were not always what I would have chosen myself, but I came to see that the finding of some little treasure that would make the children smile brought her great joy. She couldn’t afford to buy the things I might have preferred, finding bargains made her feel she was making a real contribution.

    I struggled with this for some time, but ultimately I told her, “You choose great gifts, so everything you give us is gratefully received and loved. We don’t have much space, so we might not be able to keep it forever, but we are very grateful for all you give us.” And then I made sure to allow myself not to feel guilt when I subsequently let the item go.

    Please forgive the length of this comment, this is quite a thought-provoking post.

    • That is a great sentiment about receiving the gift warmly and then letting it go without guilt. When I can think of an item benefitting and being appreciated by other people, I can part with it without guilt. Sort of a circle of life of items.

      And when possible, we can change the gift giving paradigm around us. But when we can’t, it shouldn’t mean that we’re trapped into keeping things that could flourish elsewhere. For some of the bigger or painstakingly handmade things I’ve given away, it has been nice to use freecycle so you have some sort of connection to the items next owner. Also, if I’m ever asked what happened to the quilt, I can say “I gave it to a lady who needed it. She so appreciated the craftmanship.”

      • RebeccaJ, ah yes. Getting rid of the guilt. I found guilt was a big part of the gift giving and card giving for us for many a year.

    • Tam, these are great thoughts. One thing that is nice is that we can all do what seems best to us but these posts help us to at least think about what we are doing and why. I’m sorry for you loss. Mothers are so special.

  15. I love this! We have food allergies too, and I also often wonder how to encourage someone that doesn’t need anything-and can’t tolerate flowers. I’ll remember to ask, and if I have ideas I can offer them and ask if they will be useful or enjoyed.

  16. I was on medical leave for 2 months after hip surgery. Very hard to do stuff around the house plus I had major cabin fever! The best gifts I received during that time: someone brought over some “freezer” type meals so I didn’t have to cook and balance crutches/walker at the same time, they mopped my kitchen floor when I couldn’t…. and when I got total cabin fever from not being able to drive/leave the house, they helped me into their car and we took a short drive, got some fresh air, and stopped off for a little takeout junk food!

    • Hi Penny and welcome to 365 Less Things. Those are the most thoughtful kinds of gifts. Given from the heart to make someone else’s life more pleasant and, in your case, easier and bearable. Your story proves that gifts don’t have to be useless tokens and people care for you they can be people actually caring for you.

    • Penny, I know cabin fever well. Looks like you have some really nice friends.

  17. My Mum & her partner gave me a bag of dynamic lifter for my birthday. Garden manure has been an always welcome birthday tradition for a while now though “strangely” they’re keen to deliver it direct on the day of purchase rather than on my birthday. Have tried suggesting manure to other enquirers but generally get a quiet scandalised response.

    • EB, I think your request is a hoot but if that’s what you want then you should get it. I can also see the thinking behind delivering it the day it is bought. Maybe they need to learn to buy it on the day of your birthday.

  18. I definitely understand your challenge, and the need to vent, but I am not sure that I agree with you on this one. A gift is a simple gesture of their love for you. It is nice that so many people care about your mother and want to show it. It also gives you an chance to be gracious and patient realizing that sometimes people give gifts because that is what they would like if it were them. They don’t want to come empty-handed. Sometimes a simple kind thank you is the best answer and then share the items with people in the hospital that don’t have others who care so much for them. You may make someone’s day by passing it on.

    While I do believe in being a gracious recipient, I don’t believe that you are obligated to keep whatever they give you. I have shared countless Christmas goodies with other families because we had so many, but I tried to always be grateful for the act of kindness even though I knew we wouldn’t be eating them.

    With Christmas coming up, this also is very timely. Before the presents start rolling in, maybe it would be good to let people know what you want ahead of time. We are going to ask our kids to use whatever they would have spent on us to bless someone else’s life and send us a letter letting us know what they did that we can open on Christmas morning and read. We have done this in the past and it has been simply wonderful.

  19. Spendwisemom, I do share items with others when I receive them and they are not to my taste. I guess the reason I wrote the post is because the people asked Mom and she said nothing. They kept asking and insisting so we ended up getting what we did.

    • I guess it is just hard for people to change. A lot of times when people say they don’t want anything, they don’t mean it. I hope I didn’t cause any offense by my remarks.

      • Spendwisemom, no offence taken. We all have different ways we see things. I love to give gifts but what happened with us was that we would listen all year to what the receivers would say so that we could get an idea what they might want or would ask for a list. Unfortunately, they eventually said they didn’t want to exchange gifts. Part of it was they didn’t want to spend the time and part of it was they didn’t want us or them spending the money. So it all fell away. I like the Secret Santa idea because everyone gets something and if the giver follows the “rules” they get something off the list each person makes.


  1. […] Juhli also had something to say on the subject of gift giving/receiving. […]