Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Buying gifts that matter (shop local; buy American-made)

"Make it a Red, White & Blue Christmas": to me, that means spending locally and choosing quality and American-made. In my humble opinion it's better to give one gift that matters and is meaningful rather than a whole pile of cheap trinkets.

Years ago, my father who was very particular about what he liked, and difficult to buy for as well, was ill. Spending much time in bed with illness, he wanted books, things to write on, a lap desk, etc. Shopping for my parents has never been easy, and a sense of frustration and worry usually accompanies pre-holiday gift hunting. Running short on time and ideas, we finally made a hurried trip to an building where many artists displayed their works. So many incredible things.....and so many that were out of my price range, not suitable for a man, or that seemed of little use to my dad.

And then I saw it; the most beautiful clipboard I'd ever laid eyes on. Created from a variety of wood, of all different colors and patterns, it was a stunning piece. I couldn't afford the lap desk or larger pieces in the gallery, but the clipboard was a marvel in itself. I don't believe the artist was there, but whomever was in the shop seemed knowledgeable about the pieces displayed. A brief conversation made me feel that I had THE GIFT that mattered, that I was walking out with a very special thing of value.

Dad loved it. He couldn't get over the craftsmanship, and the clipboard became a fixture around his papers and writings. He's gone now but recently during a trip back home, I wandered into his office, now where mom writes. There was the clipboard, and I couldn't help but pick it up and admire it again. Mom smiled and said "you know how much Dad enjoyed that, don't you?"

And that's what I think buying a true piece of art is about.