I have been extravagant with my children over the years. Not when they were little — few electronics, no cashmere hoodies. I did once try to dress my daughter in a beautiful silk shortall from Dad’s family, but that lasted all of 7 minutes. And there was no point giving either kid big expensive toys.
My daughter could use anything as a prop for imaginary games. Then she’d ask for a friend to come over, or even better two, or twelve, and could we take the friends out for lunch and how about ice cream too? And could they spend the night?
My son was more inclined to pursuits that didn’t require other people. But he stayed with each so long — origami for 5 years, Pokemun for another few, giving way to Magic The Gathering and basketball forums — he rarely wanted much Big or New.
Things changed when my children grew up, and moved away from me. Things will do that. I often channeled my maternal yearning into presents, sometimes impulsive, sometimes plotted and planned. In the salaried years I splurged, even in leaner times I can’t resist indulgence.
Reader Kathy G. asked me, last year, “What are the best presents you ever got?” The thing is, I’ve thought and thought and I simply can’t remember. But what I’ve given, that’s another story.
Presents For My Son In A Loving Montage With Ironic Magritte References
- This year he tells me he wants something like this Victorinox jacket. Technical is the new chic, apparently.
- Impulsively, a couple of years back, I pinged both kids and said, “Hey, I’m up for presents!” I sent them each suggestions. My son picked a tweed coat somewhat like this one from Etro, albeit a little subtler. Farfetch is a great site for unique pieces, or at least pieces apt to be unique in my neighborhood.
- This year I’ve told him I think he may need a scarf like this.
- When he moved to his first apartment in Brooklyn, I gave him coral-colored sheets and a duvet cover, in bamboo I think? Above are linen, from Crate & Barrel. I also like these cotton paisley ones, from Macy’s.
- When he moved to his third apartment in Brooklyn, this time looking out over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, I gave him the Oransi Erik Ultra air purifier. Good for particulate matter, which can be particularly damaging to health when you live near a highway.
- When he was 5 or 7 we gave him mostly origami books.
- When he was 4-ish, we gave him gym balls. Actually, those were a joint present for him and his sister. He and his best friend played Jumping From Bed To Ball Olympics. My daughter played, We Are Queens And Princesses Of A Far Away Land And We Can Only Travel Across The Seas With These Giant Balls Which Are Really Our Butts Or Our Princess Dresses, Either Way.
- At some point in his college years I began to give my son cashmere from Nordstrom. Their John W. Nordstrom sweaters are excellent quality and fairly priced. His favorite is slate blue.
Presents For My Daughter In An Earnest History Of Love And Admiration
- This year I suspect my daughter might like an Anthropologie blouse. Would look nice under a white coat, no? But we’re going to go shopping and choose together.
- That time I pinged my kids impulsively with “I’m on for $$”, my daughter chose a Coach bag. They don’t make hers any more, but these are close. Some are on sale.
- One year at college in New Jersey it snowed a lot and she was cold. I got her a J. Crew puffer coat. Like this, but longer and no faux fur.
- One year at college in New Jersey her lips got chapped and boys got mean. I sent her 5 different lip balms. I’m sure one of them was Fresh. If I repeated the gift I’d go for Korres.
- She traveled a good deal for her first job out of college. We got her a Victorinox suitcase. Hers is gray, more recognizable than black, but not childish like purple or pink.
- When she was 3 0r 4, a set of plastic dogs. Turns out you can model entire civilizations out of little critters. I still have them.
- Tangrams, AKA wooden pattern blocks. I suppose these were really for me. I would watch her and and her little brother laying out primary-colored shapes on our Persian rug and feel my heart beating louder from pride.
- The tiniest pearl ring, from Catbird.
When I told my kids I’d like to write a post about their presents, my son sent me this email.
Hi Mom,Am thinking about this. As for writing, perhaps you could say I need a coat, a cavity removed, some more sage shipped in a hello kitty pouch, and if-it-be-found a necklace chain studded with small semi-precious stones.Love,[His Name]& Hi [Daughter’s Name]! See you soon!
Oh, and I’d also like a soccer ball
My daughter and I had a phone conversation. When I asked her “What was your favorite present from me?” she thought of the Catbird ring – which we saw at a Cotswold workshop on our trip to the UK. Since that trip I often call her My Little Companion. As when she was my first, in a stroller.
Raising another human being is an explosion of wonder and love. That is, when it’s not a long and somewhat confused slog.
Merry Christmas, my children, I love you both forever.
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