Monday, November 8, 2010

Rethinking Gifts

Cuisinart Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot with CoverThe Holiday season is approaching; the topic of gifts is in the air.
Yesterday, I went in to town and used some gift cards we had to purchase a gift for myself, something I'd wanted for a long time. A large, stainless steel, 12.5 quart pot, deep enough to be used for home canning.

What? That's what you call a present, Penny? How about something actually nice and special?

Yup. For me, that's an ideal present. My last present before that was a cast iron large pot, and the one before that was a gravy boat... and before that, a large pretty salad bowl.

You may look at my presents and say that I have strange taste. I want only practical things; none of them are "special". Why do I consider those to be presents? Aren't they just regular kitchen purchases?

In my opinion, the concept of gifts needs a bit of rethinking.
Bayou Classic 7406, 6-Qt. Cast Iron Soup Pot with Cast Iron Lid
Gifts don't need to be frivolous, wasteful things with no practical use. Sometimes the practical things make the best gifts.

To me, the purpose of a gift is to improve the quality of your life and make you happier. That doesn't need to just mean a new designer handbag, expensive jewelry, electronic gizmos, etc.
When it comes to receiving gifts, I vastly prefer things that are "investments". That large pot for canning is a terrific gift because it'll allow me to save money. Investments in frugality help relieve us of some financial stress and thus improve the quality of our life and make me happier. Additionally, getting household things that I'd wanted as gifts frees up the money that I would have spent on that item, allowing us greater monetary leeway.
Bormioli Rocco Selecta Salad Bowl
That new large pot means that I can now toss out my old large pot, made of unhealthy aluminum.
My cast iron pot meant that I could discard my unhealthy Teflon pans, because cast iron is also non stick. It also is a healthier and cheaper way of combating anemia without needing to buy iron pills.
That gravy boat and salad bowl? Oh, they don't particularly save me money, but they filled a void that I had in my kitchen, and improve my life by adding some beauty. And best of all- those things hopefully will be around for a long, long time.

HIC Hotel Gravy Boat with Saucer, Porcelain, 24 Ounce CapacityFor me, I'd rather not have the unnecessary extras that most people give. I want the practical gifts, hands down... Ones that'll last, and improve my finances and my life on a regular basis.

When it comes to gifting to others, that isn't my policy. (Though I have managed to get Mike to agree and bought him a hammer for his last birthday after his previous one broke.) But I'll talk more about gifting others next time...

What kind of gifts do you like best? Practical? Extras? What was the best gift you received? What was the worst?

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