This week has been a departure from my standard Ashley Tries format. I did try to do my hair a different way every day, but that really wasn’t anything to write home about. I’m still really bad at doing hair. The main thing I learned was that I had to decide the night before that I was going to try to do something different, so I was mentally prepared to try something new the next morning. The first day was the highlight – I tried that I’m-a-millennial-so-I-don’t-curl-the-ends-of-my-hair hair and that worked out pretty nicely. I also tried to put together my best millennial outfit and break out the instagram pose, just for consistency’s sake.
The only problem with having a win early in the week was that it lulled me into a false sense of security. Tuesday I tried to do a french braid. WHY? I never learned how to do a french braid and I have very little dexterity when I’m trying to knot hair on the back of my own head. I didn’t have Sara get a picture of back of my head, because I didn’t even want to know what it looked like. This picture was taken an hour or so after I twisted my hair into what I hoped looked like a braid and it was already falling out. Fortunately, I was wearing a turtleneck and pumps to prove that I am in fact an adult and a professional. I wore red lipstick to try to salvage the hair and face situation, but my hat is off to those women who can somehow knit together a masterpiece on the back of their own head.
By Friday, I had definitely run out of ideas, so I went with a ponytail. I realized that I use clothes as way to control things that I’m not great at. Mainly hair. “Well, my hair is kind of boring, but I’ve got a red shirt on.” “My hair is mess, but I WILL DISTRACT YOU WITH MY BLAZER.” And it works. People assume that I’m a put-together person most of the time. I’m really not. I have a million ideas sleeting through my head and a stubborn streak, but discipline doesn’t come easily to me. But if a blazer makes people think that I’ve got it all together, you’d better believe I’m going to wear that blazer.
The main thing I focused on this week was creating gift guides and thinking about presents! I love Christmas and I especially love the tradition of gift giving. The only reason I object to the idea of Santa is that sometimes he’s used as a works righteousness threat. (Be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents!) NO. The whole point of Christmas is that God gave us everything when we least deserved it. This world was a planet of Grinches and Scrooges and we deserved worse than nothing. Then God sent His Son and saved us. He gave us everything.
When we give, we give ourselves. Love who you give presents to and love what you give. Watching kids open Christmas presents is the absolute best. They haven’t gotten to the stage where they don’t know what they want. They ask for what they want and when they unwrap the thing they really want, there is pure joy. Adults are trickier to shop for and sometimes we just need some inspiration. So I made a few themed gift guides to help get your giving going!
A few parting thoughts about giving fun presents:
- Figure out a budget for presents and stick with it, so that your giving isn’t grudging or tinged with guilt. Antique stores and consignment stores and thrift stores are great places to look for inexpensive presents with a lot of personality.
- Some people get very burdened by physical possessions. If you’re trying to figure out a present for somebody who already has too much stuff, give them a gift card to a coffee shop and plan a time to hang out together, or buy them a movie pass and plan a movie night together.
- Food is a great present. I adore food presents. I’m a farmer’s daughter and one amazing thing about farmers is that they give what they grow. It’s so personal and wonderful. Growing up, the other farmers would give us tangerines and oranges and almonds and pistachios. They didn’t grow chocolate, but they also gave us a lot of chocolate and it was the BEST EVER.
- Don’t shy away from practical presents. The older I get, the more I appreciate nice socks in my stocking. I wear socks all the time and nice socks are such a delight! I was given a little pocket knife one year and that was fantastic. But I lost it somewhere along the way and I am living a knifeless life. I should ask for a little Swiss Army Knife for my stocking!
- Give music! I signed up for Pandora Plus (because I got sick of listening to ads) and I love it.
- Give presents that foster a sense of adventure – if they want to travel to Iceland, give them a travel guide to Iceland! Give them a map of hiking trails in your area. Give them trail mix and a compass. Give them a globe. I loved our globe growing up.
The main thing is to just love your people and give out of gratitude. Start Christmas off right by having a happy heart!