Presents. We High WASPs we call them presents, even though the word “Present” doesn’t sound as good with “Guide,” as the word “Gift” does. Let’s think about the women we might be giving to of all ages. For me, that means from 84 years to 5 months.
For my mother: Alzheimer’s appreciates repetition. The concept of a uniform takes on new meaning, supporting self-recognition. Without much thought, we packed Mom’s striped shirts for the move. Now we stick with that design to help her orient. Ease of dressing is also critical, someone is always helping. I’ve found the petite washable crepe pants from Eileen Fisher work well here (Mom’s short), as do button-front tunics. Shirt: Brooks Brothers, on sale. Pants: by Eileen Fisher at Nordstrom,
For my daughter: Medical students in Southern California need cute backpacks to carry their papers and even cuter sunglasses to protect and enhance their baby blues. Backpack: Vera Bradley. Sunglasses: Ray-Ban.
For my stepmother: At a guess, she wants nothing. And yet I would love to get her a piece of jewelry, the kind that’s really art in disguise. Previously-owned Hermès via The RealReal. I think I quite like the tarnish. Or, as she may have recently told me, a vase for a photography prop. Did you know Calvin Klein offers vases from a ceramicist? Me neither. But this one is less expensive and still pure of line.
A topper for my working sisters: In order to find affordable pieces nice enough for work, I’d scour the department store sale sites like Off5th, Nordstrom Rack, and Neiman Marcus’s Last Call, looking for a lucky size. Lots of Friends and Family deal this week. Or maybe I’d just splurge. Cardigan: Eileen Fisher at Nordstrom. Cashmere, by the way. A less expensive version that comes in multiple colors, in Tencel, here. The jacket is by Akris Punto, seriously discounted here. We always want our jackets to give like a cardigan, our cardigans to impress like a jacket.
Books for the school-aged children of my friends abroad: Reading levels vary widely at this age. I discovered Mo Willem in my volunteer teaching. How does he write so much humor and empathy into so few words? Today I Will Fly! (An Elephant and Piggie book). And surely any six-year old girl, or any six-year old anyone, ought to know Pippi Longstocking. I remember finding it very scary, that she lived alone, and wondering how she bore it. And yet she did, with good cheer.
Baby present for a little girl: Handsome in Pink makes gender-agnostic baby and toddler clothes. If a middle-aged woman can wear a biker jacket, surely a baby girl, or a baby boy, for that matter. should have this biker onesie.
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