Un­con­ven­tional gifts to give this Chris­mukkah

Avoid the hus­tle and bus­tle of the hol­i­day sea­son by try­ing some of these present ideas

StarMetro Halifax - - DAILY LIFE - Neil Pas­richa SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

Christ­mas is messed up.

Lots are jammed, malls are rammed and we race around in giant plas­tic cars to fill giant plas­tic bags with heaps of giant plas­tic toys to set un­der giant plas­tic trees.

Toss an­other box on the pile! Now, I’m def­i­nitely guilty, too. But my wife and I are al­ways try­ing to pull back, pare down and get in­ten­tional about what we’re giv­ing every year. Per­fect’s over there, we’re over here, but still: here are some un­con­ven­tional gifts we have given or re­ceived in the past few years, which have helped dial down the in­san­ity while di­al­ing up the in­ti­macy:

A batch of your home­made spaghetti sauce

Whip up a big batch of the good stuff and put it into jars for all your loved ones. Also works with salsa, jam or gra­nola. For bonus points, cut out some lit­tle check­ered cloths with pink­ing shears and wrap them around the lids with string.

Old jew­elry

Most things in your Grandma’s closet don’t age well. Socks. Pan­ty­hose. Read­ing glasses. Pink track pants. But jew­elry is an ex­cep­tion. The story of a spe­cific bracelet or pair of ear­rings only deep­ens, length­ens and in­ten­si­fies with time.

“It’s the ring your grand­fa­ther bought me on our 10th an­niver­sary,” or “I bought these ear­rings for my prom back in Timmins.” The story of old jew­elry is the story of the mile­stones in your life. Also ap­plies to hood­ies, watches or any­thing else spe­cial you think some­one else might love.

A travel water bot­tle

By some es­ti­mates, there are now more than a mil­lion peo­ple in air­planes at any given time. That’s, like, a lot. And I don’t know about you, but run­ning to my gate in the screen-n-per­fume-n-dead-eye-balled tank that is the mod­ern air­port al­ways makes me thirsty.

So, I buy some $8 bot­tle of water, chug it and chuck the plas­tic brick it came in into the trash. Hor­ri­ble! I may as well per­son­ally stran­gle a pick­erel.

But what’s the so­lu­tion? Well, a travel water bot­tle that dan­gles on the out­side of a back­pack. Per­fect for air­port tap water fill-ups. And a nice re­minder of a loved one when you’re far away.

A dif­fer­ent ver­sion of their

favourite book When I in­ter­viewed my favourite book­seller Sarah Ram­sey for 3 Books, she told me she had four copies of Are You There God? It’s Me Mar­garet by Judy Blume.

What? Why? Well! It’s her favourite book, they have dif­fer­ent cov­ers, one of them is signed — you get the idea. Why is this such a bril­liant move? Be­cause you al­ready know they love it. Now they get an edi­tion that’s dif­fer­ent be­cause of the cover or for­mat or sig­na­ture in­side. It also ups your gift-giv­ing cred if you pored through end­less used book­store bins to find the gem. HALIFAX5

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