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These are a few of my favorite things

Sometimes, around this time of year, we all get a little-more-than-usually materialistic.

I think even those of us who try to focus on how it’s more blessed to give than to receive – and even truly believe that old adage! – can still be sucked in by the clever advertisements and the shiny sales. Everywhere you turn, someone is asking what you want for Christmas or telling you what you need for Christmas, and it’s only natural that a seemingly unnatural desire for “things” can creep into our thoughts a little more frequently this time of year.

And after all, many of my favorite things were once Christmas gifts from friends and loved ones.

True joy does not lie in material possessions, of course; on the other hand, God has given us all things richly to enjoy.

The “favorite things party” has grown in popularity over the past few years. An alternative to the classic “white elephant” or “dirty Santa” party motif, guests at a favorite things party are asked to bring – well, yes – one or more of their favorite things as the gift(s). Some parties, guests being enough of a single item for each of the other guests. There’s also the option where you bring just two or three items, and names are drawn out of a hat.

However it’s structured, the main thrust of the party is that you get a chance to share items you truly enjoy – a favorite book, a soft pair of socks, the perfect shade of lipstick – with your fellow party-goers, rather than whatever $10-15 item you scrounged up on your way over.

Of course, maybe the party theme brings to mind a particular Julie Andrews song that, for reasons I can’t understand, has become a Christmas song. Well, if your favorite things include crisp apple strudel, doorbells, sleigh bells or schnitzel with noodles – well, more power to you!

It’s got me thinking about what would top my list of favorite things.

Obviously, my couch is pretty high on the list – but that’s not something I could wrap and take as a gift to a party.

So, in case you’ve been invited to a favorite things party – or even a more traditional gift swap – and need some inspiration, maybe my own list will help spark some ideas for you. May I present: A few of my favorite things.

  1. Perfectly-sized bins and baskets. Off the top of my head, I can count up no fewer than 20 bins or baskets of various sizes corralling certain items around my home. Some are helping to organize clutter unseen inside cabinets and drawers, while other are on display, holding their assortments of bath supplies, books or random knick-knacks. Even though I try to keep “stuff” pared down to a minimum, I still find the need for stuff to keep stuff in, and I feel I’m not alone. Any recipient would appreciate a good container.
  2. A clip-on book light. If I’m being honest, I don’t use this as much as I thought I would, but I love knowing that it’s there when I need it. Sure, our cellphones all have flashlights now, but have you actually tried turning the pages of a book while lighting it with your phone? You can’t beat the classic book light for its convenience. Whether in the bed or on the road, it’s a handy doo-dad to have around.
  3. A nice-smelling cleaning spray. Yes, I have a specific brand in mind that I use, but the brand doesn’t really matter. It’s just nice to have a spray bottle in the cabinet that I can quickly grab to freshen things up. I use mine liberally on countertops and just to spritz the air. Can you give a cleaning product as a Christmas gift? I don’t see why not.
  4. Cozy pajama pants. Is this too cliché? Perhaps. But there is literally nothing more comforting than coming home from being out in the world, whether at work or running errands or what have you, and slipping into a soft, cozy pair of pajama pants. If you can find just the right combination of factors – the right length, the right weight, the right waistband – you are gold. It helps if they are an attractive pattern, too, but one of my favorite pairs of pj pants is just plain black. They’re just so comfy! We can all use a little extra comfort in our lives, can’t we?
  5. A handy-dandy notebook. Despite being a millennial and relatively clued into the technology of the day, I can’t get by without a good old-fashioned notebook. Whether it’s spiral-bound or more like a journal, I’ve just got to have a lined notebook of some kind at hand pretty much all the time. I have lists to make, schedules to plan, notes to write. My brain seems to work better when most of it has been transcribed into a hardcopy notebook. Now, I’ll be frank – I generally have a large supply of notebooks on hand, and when I’m gifted yet another, I’m tempted for a moment to think, “Ugh, another notebook? I already have so many!” The fact of the matter is, however, that this consumable resource continues to dwindle as I continue to keep my life organized by putting pen to paper. The smart gift recipient will never turn up their nose to such an endlessly-practical gift.

If you’re struggling to think of a gift for someone, think about the things you yourself enjoy and appreciate the most in your life. You’re sure to come up with a winning idea.

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