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My name is Jill, and I’m an over-gifter.

I can’t help it. I see something that would be SO perfect for my lit-major niece, my gourmet cook husband, my fantastic sister, my entire writers’ group … I have to buy it for them. Even if I have already bought them several gifts already. If it’s someone close to me, I might pick up gifts for them all year long as I find them, and then not remember come Christmas just how much I’ve accumulated (got that trait from my Nana) or remember where they are at all.  Better is to give someone a gift when I find it, “just because”—and anyway, aren’t those unexpected gifts the best ones of all? I love finding the “perfect” gift for someone—and even if it’s not, well, it gave me a lot of pleasure! When those boxes arrive, if it’s as if I’ve gotten a gift myself. 

PHOTO BY CHRIS EVERARD VIA A GIFT-WRAPPED LIFE. 

When friends are going through a tough time, I often make them some variation of this CD/playlist. You can access it on itunes here (and feel free to use my cover art, above!): 

Things are Gonna Get Better

Better Things by Dar Williams
Breathe (2AM) by Anna Nalick
Bright Side of the Road  by Van Morrison
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
Sydney (I’ll Come Running) by Brett Dennen
Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson
Sweet Inspiration by The Derek Trucks Band
In the Sun by Michael Stipe and Coldplay
I Don’t Ever Give Up by Patty Griffin
I Release You by Niki Haris
Another Day by Jamie Lidell
There’s Hope by India.Arie
Instant Karma by U2
Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine

How about you, what are your favorite pick-me-up songs, or ways to help a friend going through a really tough time?  

Grove can take a photograph, image or text of your choice and laser-engrave it on a leather cover for your Moleskine notebook. A great gift for anyone who still loves to take notes via paper and pen, like me! The custom covers are $79. via Shelterific

Here’s one of the NYC baby photos, from Brian Dorsey Studios. Fantastic! 

Love these baby photos Ceci of Ceci Style had taken of her son, Mason, really showing off their city. A great alternative to the standard studio portraits—show something about where you live! 

theatlantic:

“This is how Maurice Sendak sometimes sent his letters. Just imagine getting one.” (via Letters Of Note)

(via npr)

The Wisdom of Others

I love this idea—perfect for a graduate, a couple about to get married or have a baby, or a friend facing a tough time, like illness or divorce. It’s a new site/product called “The Wisdom of Others" which helps you solicit quotes and advice from the recipient’s family and friends, and then turn them into a nice hardbound book. It’s a very personal gift that I think would be incredibly meaningful. They start at $29.95, or $14.95 for ebooks.  

I remember my sister making me a “Nothing Book” (a blank book before journals became so popular—anyone remember those?) filled with quotes and photos she had selected for me, all hand-written. It still sits on my bedside table, one of my most treasured possessions because of all the thought and care that went into it. Whenever I need a lift, I love to page through it! 

We also have even prettier handbound books from Rag & Bone Bindery that are designed to fill in with similar sentiments, such as “12 Wishes for Baby" and "12 Wishes for Your Marriage" and "12 Ways You Made a Difference.” These would make it even easier to create a book, especially at an event such as a shower—and they’re beautiful! 

What a gift does

One of my inspirations in starting my gift site is that as much fun as it is to get a gift, I have absolutely no doubt that, for me at least, I get way more enjoyment out of giving one. That is why I loved the event Gentri and Kaityln, from isavirtue, came up with called “Send Something Good.” It was so much fun to pack up a box of little unexpected treats for someone I didn’t know—but was getting to know through her blog, Dear Life … From a Mom of Boys. The more I read Tracy Jensen’s heartfelt blog posts, the more excited I felt about getting to send her a package. Because if anyone has EVER deserved a gift, it is Tracy. We are both moms of boys, but while I have two, she is raising FIVE, including a beautiful little boy with spina bifida. She has so many challenges to deal with, and yet when you read her words, there is always a bright, strong spirit shining through—being honest about what’s hard, but never giving up. She is an inspiration! And the very definition of a mother, in all its heartbreaking challenges and glorious rewards. Tracy wrote the nicest blog post about receiving her package at just the right time—that it made her week! Well Tracy, you made mine! 

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