This post is supposed to be about meaningful gifts.
I come from a family that believes that Christmas, Birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day all warrant gifts, and also anniversaries - though gift giving and receiving is limited to the couple whose anniversary is taking place. I say this because I was verbally assaulted at work when I said that I was shocked that some families didn't do any gifts. I just never thought about it, OK? You would've thought I said "I think Saddam Hussein was a good person" LOL.
Anyways, because my family is into gifts (not ridiculously into it, like "Honey I got your a Mercedes for your sweet 16) I've been blessed enough to receive many, many meaningful gifts throughout my 25 or so years. So many that I can't even list them. I would just go on and on. I think I will try and mention just 10 for now, sticking with the top ten list, but these are in absolutely no order whatsoever.
1. Books. I've received books since basically before I was born. My mom is a librarian, and started out as a children's librarian, and she is a children's book guru. She bought books starting maybe even before she married my father, and then handed them down to me and my sister. I have two bookcases full in my room, plus some stacked here and there, nevermind the rubbermaids I have in storage full of books. I am grateful for these gifts because I swear to God that that's what made me a good student and an imaginative person - reading and being read to from a very young age. I was given thick 100+ page books as soon as I could read, as was my sister. My mom and her librarian best friend were always feeding us books - my sister could read by the time she was 4 because of all the books in the house, as well as the fact that I was learning to read when she was 4 and she hijacked my mad skillzzzzz. Anyways, we both turned out to be fairly normal, imaginative and smart ladies. Thanks to my parents and the books they gave us.
2. Savings bonds. My great aunt Elinore gave us savings bond twice a year every year. When I was little, I didn't get it. Now that I am older, OH HOW I GET IT. They're maturing in the fireproof safe in my basement. For as long as they need to.
3. Cameras. I think I first got a camera for Christmas in 1990. Since then I've bought 2 and been given 3. See the thing is that I believe that I've observed so much by looking through the lens. I'm hyper by nature, and while I don't have ADD or anything, when I'm on vacation I want to take everything in. Photography slows me down. Some people complain that they miss the sights and sounds when they're responsible for the pictures, and resent the fact that they're the one carrying the camera. Not me. It gives me time to pause and observe. For nearly 3 months, my eye was pasted to the viewfinder of my dad's Canon AE-1 Program, while I traversed the Kenyan countryside. I saw things no one else did, I'm sure of it. I had a nice zoom on there, and I would zero in on something and just watch it. I took time to compose shots, sunsets, savannas. I got up early to go on birdwalks and game drives because I knew the light would be good. You wouldn't think that a hunk of metal and wind-bits could impact your life like that, but it has.
4. Sewing machine. I got it for Christmas this year. I'm ecstatic because this means I can make gifties for other people, it makes me so happy!
5. Quilt. A girl I went to school with made me a quilt for graduation. It was one of the single-most touching gifts I've ever received. The amount of time and effort she had put into it all the while maintaining her busy schedule at school AND keeping it all a secret amazed me. It is on my bed every single night.
6. Birds. My grandparents bought me 2 parakeets for my 17th birthday. I think it was my 17th. Those sweet little things brightened my day. Plus they were the pathway that led to us letting Lily infiltrate our household, led the way to volunteering at Foster Parrots, and brought Lucy and Charlie Brown, the handmaiden and butler to Satan into our blessed home, LOL.
7. Jewels. Oh yeah, Allison's gotten some jewelry in her life. My birthstone is a diamond, and I always thought that this was an inaccessible stone. Not at all. I've received some beautfiul things with tiny, perfect and tasteful diamonds on them. Some of my favorite jewelry is fake though: I treasure my grandma Kitty's pearls and pearl ring. Fake as hell, but they were hers and she loved them and that's why I love them. I also treasure the necklace my friend made for me. I was shocked when I opened it, it was so lovely, and then it was all the more special when she said that she had designed it and made it herself. My sister gave me a necklace of baltic amber for graduation. I love it. She also bought me a black pearl drop this Christmas. Jam's gifts of jewelry are always stunning. I consider myself especially lucky for his exquisite taste in jewelry - so many women complain of receiving a blender or dust buster for Christmas. Jam gives me jewelry, and nice jewelry too, unique and creative things, like black pears and tanzanite. Gorgeous.
8. My painted box. My friend Rachel surprised the hell out of me one birthday while we were in college with a painted box. On the top of it there is a scene of rolling hills and a giraffe striding across the plains. THEN SHE TOLD ME SHE PAINTED IT HERSELF. Where had she been hiding this hidden talent? I DON'T KNOW! I adore it though, it's always had a special place in my room, right near my computer where I can see it every day.
9. College. Ok, it's not a gift as in a gift you put under the tree, but my parents paid for a huge chunk of it. I don't even want to know what they could've done with the money instead - we'd probably have a vacation home and 3 new cars, but they made sacrifices and helped me out a crapton and never once said "You can't go to Smith because it's too expensive." That makes me smile.
10. The small things. People have given me any number of little things over the years that have touched me more than they know. My cousin Catherine gave me a small pendant shaped like a swallow - I adore it. During finals senior year, my neighbors Krystal and Kate made me an African animal mobile out of paper. My friend Melu hunted down some Nars "Chinatown" nail polish when we were at school and gave it to me for Christmas, no easy feat since the nearest place selling Nars was probably 50 miles away. My "big sister" in college gave me a mini music box that plays "when you wish upon a star" which I still wind and listen to once in a while. My sister brought me back a lacquered box from Spain which is one of my dearest treasures.
It doesn't take much to make me happy but my friends and family still put so much thought and kindness into their gifts. I'm so lucky :)
I'll post some pictures later I hope. With the present I bought myself today: a Fuji FinePix F20 digital camera. BOOYAH!