Halloween is this week but so is the first day of the holiday season, the biggest gift-giving season of the year. This post from the Edible Antics archive, written by Amanda, features some wonderful stories about gift giving. Please enjoy!

The Good

Northwoods Bounty Cheese Gift Basket | Northwoods Cheese Company
An example of a GOOD gift: The Northwoods County Cheese Gift Basket.

Gift giving this holiday can be easier than gift giving last holiday. If the folks you gave to last year enjoyed their gift, and your gift was food, then you’re all set. Just give the same food gift again.

Why food gifts? Because…

  1. Even fruitcake spoils and you can be certain that last year’s gift no longer resides in the closet/cupboard.
  2. Many people entertain during the holidays and appreciate having specialty foods and desserts on hand to share.
  3. Food gifts save people grocery money.
  4. People who have everything still need food.
  5. People give themselves a reprieve on their diets and enjoy indulging in holiday foods.
  6. Gift giving of particular foods can become happy, family traditions.

For years my mother ordered a particular company’s plum pudding for our Christmas Eve dessert. She’d set it on fire and carry it flaming to the table while we all sang. When the party moved to my house, she had the pudding delivered to me. And we continued to ignite it and feast. Christmas wasn’t Christmas without that plum pudding. In our family, giving the same food gift as last year has been a winning strategy. So that’s the good story of gift giving.

The Bad

German Chocolate Cake with Caramel Vodka | STF Enterprises
Seriously, food makes the perfect gift. This German Chocolate Cake by STF Enterprises features Caramel Vodka. How can you beat that?

And here’s the bad, – when giving the same gift as last year goes wrong. If you’re thinking of repeating last year’s gift of flowers, keep reading.

Gift giving of flowers can backfire when you don’t know the florist. Two years in a row, a friend sent a poinsettia to his grandmother. She loved it and showed it off to her friends. He thought he’d never have to think of another Christmas gift for her again. Wrong. The third year, my friend sent the order to a different florist, and the poinsettia was of poor quality. My friend’s family complained repeatedly about the plant. Now instead of a happy gift giving memory, thoughts of poinsettia gifts induce annoyance. That’s the bad.

RELATED: Holiday Shopping — Wisconsin Style

And the Goat?

Well, the goat’s my fault, but my mom takes some blame too. Years ago, I gave my parents a calendar for Christmas. They loved it. It hung in the kitchen and was used as a monthly planner for our family. Mom would note appointments, birthdays, and everything else a busy woman needs to remember.

The following year she requested another calendar. I already knew that the calendar couldn’t be too big else it wouldn’t fit in the allotted space on the kitchen wall. But Mom made an additional request. Could the white boxes noting the days be a bit bigger; there were all those engagements to fit in. Certainly. The right-sized calendar with large day boxes was found, purchased, wrapped and discovered under the tree.

Year three: I remember that Mom thanked me effusively for last year’s calendar because she enjoyed its marvelous nature photography. Note to self, buy not-too-big calendar with great nature photos, and lots of white space beneath the days.

Year four: Mom anticipated a new calendar for Christmas and told me how helpful it is to have the previous and next month dates depicted on the current page. I acknowledged this new requirement.

Year five: An additional condition was added, but I can’t recall the specifics. What I do remember is that this new criterion, added to the old, made finding an acceptable calendar extremely difficult. That year’s calendar was the trickiest gift on the Christmas shopping list. I shopped mall after mall . . . until I saw it: The calendar meeting every condition.

Small Breed Dogs Wall Calendar | Willow Creek Press
Mutant goats aside, you can’t really go wrong with a daily dose of Dachshunds.

The calendar featuring the mutant goat.

The mutant goat was born in New Zealand, I think. Instead of two small horns, the goat had a single, large, unicorn-like horn sticking straight out of its forehead. The calendar advertised itself as a unicorn calendar.

Every exquisite photograph pictured the mutant goat in a lovely natural setting: the goat standing nobly on a rock in the mountains; the goat leaping in a field of yellow daisies; the goat pausing reflectively in a stand of trees; the goat communing with a butterfly. One month, the goat was partially obscured in a meadow of purple flowers, but he and his mutant horn still dominated the scene. By December, as the goat sniffed red berries on a green holly bush, my animal-loving mother hoped he’d just swallow that poison down and she’d be done with him.

In July she had already decreed, “No goats!” Then my proactive mother took calendar buying into her own hands. In mid-November she announced that she’d found her calendar for the up-coming year. She was satisfied, and I was relieved.

Just remember, gift giving is easy when you’ve got a source for great food.

This post has been edited for length, grammar and updated with images and new links. Featured photo by Nick Dunlap on Unsplash. All captions were written by KT, blogger at large.

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