I know it sounds selfish, but I do love the present receiving part of Christmas. Between sustainability reasons and my family disposition towards thriftiness, I rarely buy anything for myself. Also, Chris and I give each other birthday presents – we go somewhere spectacular for dinner instead. So I really anticipate finding out what people have given me for Christmas.
My family loves to give gifts, so there’s always plenty to be excited about and this year was no exception. Because of the upcoming Climate Ride, I asked for presents that could make my cycling more productive. In particular, I received a bike rack and a fantastic bag for grocery shopping. My mom also gave me a bike jacket that I sadly have to return. I specifically picked it out based on Bicycling Magazine’s recommendation, but it turns out to be much thinner and more fitted than it appeared to be from either the description or photos online. Nonetheless, I’m going to trade it in for something neon that cut the wind and keep me visible to cars. It’d be great if I could fit a couple fleecy layers underneath it too. I want to try biking in the winter cold, but I have to suit up right first.
Of course, I love giving people gifts as well. I spent a quite a bit of time at REI looking for gifts for my dad, and ended up giving him a headlamp and multi-function bike tool, among other gifts. He seemed particularly enthusiastic about the tool, or at least as enthusiastic as my zen-calm father can be. In the summer, my parents are traveling to Africa, so I’m hoping my mom will get plenty of use out of the citronella body and laundry wash I gave her.
On the cooking side of things, I gave my husband Chris a cast iron Dutch oven from Le Creuset. It was definitely pricy, but worth it because he’ll get good use out of it. I also bought him a couple of stocking stuffers at gourmet grocery Bertucci’s, just because they made me giggle. These included fancy fruitcake, Christmas-tree shaped butter, and a Hands of Buddha fruit. Three different people in the store stopped me and asked how on earth I was going to cook the Hands of Buddha. I said, “I have no idea. But my husband’s a professional cook, so I’m putting it in his stocking and letting him figure it out!” They all smiled, and then slowly moved away.
But the favorite gift I bought Chris was the year-long adoption of an Italian olive tree. We received a booklet describing the tree, its farmers, and its grove, and will receive olive oil from it at two different points in the year. I love its personal connection to agriculture and the economic support for artisanal farmers.
My parents also bought Chris a full-sized food processor. We have a small one, but always have too many ingredients to fit in its tiny bowl. As a result, I’ve ended up with a lot of lumpy hummus.
Our Christmas tree, complete with energy saving LED disco lights.
An adorable little gingerbread boy and girl that Chris’s mom gave us. Appropriately, the boy has a rolling pin and the girl has a fork. Just like in real life!