So remember how I said in my last post that I was done with Christmas? Yeah. I just screamed into the mail center down the street to pay $18 in shipping costs for my mother-in-law’s gift to get an expensive guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Turns out BUYING things and SENDING things sometimes takes two steps. Don’t forget the second step.
BUT! Say you DON’T have to mail things! Or perhaps you’re getting together for gift giving with some folks after the holidays (OUTSIDE! AND SOCIALLY DISTANCED!) so the time pressure is a little lessened. Or perhaps a neighbor dropped off a gift and you’re all “Wait what? This is a thing we’re doing? Motherf…”
So, here, perhaps, are some ideas for you.
Look- I don’t think there is not a person alive who doesn’t like an amaryllis. (Editing to add I’m pretty sure that’s a triple negative? Like… I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed at such a level of poor grammar. Y’all know what I meant. ) If you take one out of the cheap grow kit from the grocery store and put it in a nice pot with some decorative pebbles over the potting soil it looks WAY more expensive than the $5.99 you spent on the bulb and the $3.99 you spent on a pot. And the $2.99 on the decorative pebbles. Why the pebbles? Non-plant people are super weird about dirt. There is an equation of “Visible dirt= dirty” to the mind of the non-plant person that is so foreign to me! But whatever- these are great gifts and you’ll almost always get a picture of the huge blooms from the person in a month or so.
Do NOT buy this abomination though:
Also- they have them on Amazon where I found the picture but like… don’t.
And you don’t even have to worry if the recipient already have one because the more amaryllis the better!
If you are getting a gift (next year) for a total plant person… there is nothing better than an expensive and more unique amaryllis bulb from a good plant company- the size of the bulbs are so much bigger (usually means 3 bloom stalks instead of just one or two) than what you can get at big box or grocery stores! And the colors… it’s a brave new world beyond the common red, white, and Apple Blossom varieties available locally. AND- if you’re planning that far ahead and we all get to go back into physical stores during the summer- stock up on cute smaller pots from places like TJ Maxx or Ross for this purpose. (Note to self for 2021)
My personal favorite Amaryllis are the pink ones:
Here is the link, but just be aware they are entirely sold out this year. Pink Amaryllis
I got a double amaryllis last year from this company and was super impressed with it. Variety was called Dancing Queen.
Some of these names though. I do love plant names- but sometimes it backfires. There is a rose plant that I thought was amazing once, with a red top and yellow bottom to the petals, I’d never seen anything like it. It didn’t come home with me though because it was named Ketchup and Mustard. There is no way I was saying that for 20 years.
Anyway, I mention this because I saw this amaryllis name:
And thought… well they sure aren’t appealing to birders with that one. Also, that Elvas one looks intriguing but I ain’t buying these from Bezos and I am NOT spending $56 on a bulb. I’ll stick with the $18 ones from Longfeld, thank you very much!
What else could you get as a last minute gifts? Well…
Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder
The squirrel buster bird feeders are what we have- and I’m really happy with them. They work by the outer part pulling down and blocking the seed if a squirrel gets on them, but will also do so if 2-3 doves land on them… which I also like. This then forces the doves to eat the seed that has fallen under the feeders… which the cats like. (Sorry doves)
I think bad feeders and garbage seed are a couple of reasons people don’t continue to feed birds if they try to start. This isn’t conjecture, I saw this play out with my neighbor who is just getting into bird feeding and gardening this year. But those $5 feeders from Home Depot get demolished by squirrels. And the junk seed doesn’t attract a good variety of birds and has moths or is old and the birds won’t eat it… and then you, the newbie here, think it’s you doing something wrong whereas it’s just a bad feeder design and bad seed!
Look, I’m no expert by any means, but I certainly know using the right tools and the right seed help. So yeah, I like that feeder. And I buy my seed at the local Wild Birds Unlimited and have only gotten burned a couple of times with moths. But I’m watching some goldfinches and chickadees right now through the window on that feeder and it’s a goddamn delight, I tell you!
Great gift 10/10, would bird feeder again.
Sweetie Drop Peppers… craft idea
Got a few days? Have someone who like charcuterie boards or unusual culinary gifts? Want to make a batch of something to give away as gifts?
So these little peppers are great on a charcuterie board. They’re sweet, without a hint of heat, and are a super novelty. But you REALLY need to get them out of the wholesale can and into some cute jars with a bit of a customized brine and then tied up with a cute ribbon. (Remember when we used to put raffia on everything? So much raffia…) I hate that name though- ugh. Sweetie Drops. I have also seen them listed as Peruvian biqueno peppers and Les Trois Petitis… so maybe slightly pretentiously use one of those names when giving them away? I will.
$21 and one day shipping mean these could actually be a before Christmas gift idea too!
How do you customize brine for these? Well, I’d recommend rinsing them off in a colander and then putting in jars with a peeled clove of garlic, maybe a couple of whole black pepper seeds and coriander seeds, a smidge of salt and then pour over a brine of sugar and vinegar you brought to boiling on the stove. Also- put a note on these to refrigerate them. I’m sure you could legitimately can them (with an exact recipe and directions from Google) so they’re shelf stable but I don’t ever feel responsible enough for that. Botulism as a gift is no beuno, so ensure these go in the fridge when you give them as gifts. And crap. I just realized I haven’t gotten anything for our various cool neighbors so guess what they’re all getting! These!
And… a gift for yourself idea
Do NOT get a phone case as a gift for someone else… unless it’s like a spouse you’re super sure of their taste and phone model. But I just bought a new phone case for myself (my other one was looking ratty) and I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it!
I got this case:
Since I use my phone for work I generally have kept my cases pretty neutral in the past. I’ve seen some really girly cases used by other female sales reps and honestly think they look unprofessional. (Why does EVERYTHING have to be gendered?! These women also wear pink hard hats- which also drives me crazy.) But god damn it this has been a YEAR and I’m not traveling and so no one sees my phone and even if they did I now thoroughly don’t care and it was a personal and arbitrary rule anyway. And besides- this isn’t glittery and pink or anything.
ANYWAY. I’m just super impressed with the selection at this Etsy shop and the quality of the case itself. Each design comes in Matte and Glossy versions- I got the matte, which still does reflect light (think Satin paint finish) and feel smooth in the hand, but doesn’t smudge with fingerprints the way I imagine the glossy version would.
I just really love it and thought it might be a little perk/pick me up idea for January to get a new and unique phone case for yourself. They are from England though, but I got mine delivered in under 2 weeks for only slightly ridiculous shipping charges.
SO! Christmas is now DONE! But hahaha, jokes on me- I have a daughter who was born on December 21st! And my husband’s birthday is the 27th! So now that Christmas is all buttoned up I’m off to ensure these 2 birthdays are ALSO totally planned for! AH DECEMBER… you test me every year.
Please note WordPress has done some really weird things with their spellchecker where instead of just politely underlining something in red it’ll automatically change the words. (In this post Goldfinches got auto changed to Gold benches, and I hadn’t even misspelled it!) so if some weirdness slips through my editing please know I haven’t had a stroke, I just can’t figure out how to turn that nonsense off.