I am appreciative of ANY gift I recieve and am always very humbled by the fact that someone thought of me for a gift, so if you think this blog contains any complaining about what I got, it doesn’t. Now that we’ve put that puppy to bed, let’s get on with the thought.
In the past, I’ve been given gift cards from students for Starbucks. I like Starbucks, even if I do feel they are highly overpriced for their products. I still enjoy the experience of going into their trendily-colored shops and listening to their cool alternative or just slightly off main stream music and looking at the comfy sofas, artwork and chalk drawings. I never feel I quite belong, but I think that’s one of those things about Starbucks; they almost feel exclusive. Like you are supposed to be part of a “club” to be in one.
This year, instead of Starbucks cards, I was given Dunkin’ Donuts cards. The difference is immediately noticed. Dunkin’ Donuts is for the average person. Their brightly colored, if even a little garish, interiors of orange and pink are nothing like the Starbucks muted tones. And the prices for the product are far more in line with what a normal person would pay for a cup of hot water that’s been strained and stained by some ground up beans.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a great cup of coffee. I’ve found the best tend to be made with a French press, which isn’t something you’ll find at any “fast food” coffee shop, but I digress.
I suppose what I’m seeing here is my own personal barometer of how the economy is effecting the masses in my monkeysphere. Where Starbucks cards had been given to teachers in the past, with belts being tightened and thrifty becoming the new trend, Dunkin’ Donuts delivers more bang for the buck and less buck from the pocket, while the teacher still gets a cup of warm brew.
I’m also seeing this in other aspects of my holiday interactions and I have to say that it isn’t unwelcome. Pared down trappings, more mellowed and personal get-togethers and gifts that are simple and given with thought; perhaps even handmade. For example, so far some of my most favorite things I’ve been gifted with this year have been: (in no particular order)
- note cards made from a watercolor painting a friend did of a picture I took in England
- a BPA free plastic cup that looks like the kind of cup you get from a fast food place, including a straw
- a photo book from a trip my sister/friend and I took together
- a manuscript, written by an awesome woman who writes beautifully, but hasn’t been published yet.
- a journal for my thoughts
- a gift card to Borders (along with a receipt that will give me $10.00 extra dollars worth of stuff if I go at a certain time! She knew I like to make Mr. Lincoln scream while I’m pinching him.)
- a loaf of cranberry nut bread
Personally, I give baked goods. You’d think people would get tired of baked goods, but I’m finding that many either just don’t bake or they haven’t got the time to bake and that they look forward to a gift of cookies and goodies they can set out for their guests or enjoy on their own. (which is good, because right now, my table is groaning under the weight of all the goodies waiting for their new homes)
I think this laid back, pared down, more-bang-for-the-buck, personalized kinda Christmas is a fantastic idea and while I don’t advocate that people have to lose their jobs and the economy has to go to hell in a hand-basket for it to have occurred in my monkeysphere, I’m hoping this is a trend that will stick around for a bit.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term monkeysphere, check this out!