In my recipe cabinet is a three ring binder full of food-related stuff I’ve collected over the years. A book in progress, it includes recipes I’ve made for various holidays. The good ones make it into the book, the average ones don’t. I pull it down about a week before each big meal or get-together to peruse as I plan the meal.
I also keep ideas for table settings and flowers, and lists of the people who were present, as well as other miscellany. In one section I even clipped an article about three young girls who were killed in a car accident right around graduation/Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t know them, but their deaths hit me especially hard for some reason and I didn’t want to forget them. When summer BBQs start to sound good, I open my book and am reminded to say a prayer.
So it’s that kind of a book; part memories, part food, part kitchen wisdom. I’m not religious about chronicling every little detail, but this hodgepodge of a book has become a beloved part of my holiday tradition.
In the Thanksgiving section I always find and read the following advice for gift-giving. I don’t know where it came from originally, but it was given to me by a woman who mentored me through my first year as a new mom way back in 1998. It helps me get my head on straight before the big retail season hits hard. Since Black Friday has taken on a holiday-like status of it’s own, these tips may reset your thought process. I hope you find some wisdom in this list, too!
The Self-Defeating Gift-Giving Rules
1. Give a gift to everyone you expect to get one from.
2. If someone gives you a gift unexpectedly, you should reciprocate that year, even if you had no previous intention of giving that person a present. (Some people have wrapped gifts set aside for just such an occasion.)
3. When you give someone a gift, you should plan to give that person a gift every year thereafter.
4. The amount of time and money you spend on a gift should be directly proportional to how much you care about the recipient.
5. The gift that you give someone should be equal in monetary value and/or personal significance to the one you receive from that person.
6. The presents you give someone should be fairly consistent over the years.
7. If you give a gift to a person in one category (for example: coworkers or neighbors) you should give gifts to everyone in that category. And these gifts should be similar.
8. The gifts you give your children should be equal in number and monetary value, while at the same time suiting the unique qualities of each child.
9. Men should not give gifts to their male friends, unless the gifts are alcoholic beverages. Women, however, are encouraged to give gifts to their female friends, and those gifts should not be alcohol.
10. Homemade gifts are more “meaningful” than store-bought ones.
Comments are always welcome. Have a great Thanksgiving Day, friends!