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A Shift in Giving is Good Giving


Three Poppies, 2019

By Bobby Padilla

Media, 8” x 10”

Just a little more than a couple weeks left before the holidays fully bloom, shoppers take warning. Unless you’re in the 3 -13 age range, when toys are the gift du jour, shopping can be a tenuous endeavor. There are those that just have that just given up and just pluck the low hanging fruit of gift cards, and there is those that have that certain Jena se qua at zeroing in on that desirable sweet spot and find a way to surprise you with that thoughtful present. Those individuals are as accessible as mermaids or unicorns. For the masses, a sturdy flannel or cozy socks or funky soup mug or ornament will get you by and re-certifies you one more year as Santa’s little helper.


At some point this holiday season you’ll find yourself at a craft store like Michael's or the like. Somewhere on a prominent end cap or display you’ll find small little canvasses or watercolor pads. They can range from 3.5” x 5” to 8” x 10”. Chances are they’re priced between $2 - $4, if you buy a pack, it might set you back $5 - $7. If you don’t have supplies to paint, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? If that’s the case, an introductory set of paint and brushes might be $5 - $10. It doesn’t need to be top of the line products. All said and done, with supplies and a simple frame, the total cost might run you around $15 -$20.


Also, at some point, you’ll have an hour or so of free time. A little painting or drawing of a sunset or landscape can elevate your gifting prowess. It really doesn’t matter your skill level, it’s the thought that counts, this is the mantra of the season. Put said little masterpiece in a frame, and that’s the quality shit that notches you in the upper echelon of gift giving.





My wife makes bark, about 6 different varieties and dips pretzels in chocolate too. a much larger investment, however, it presents quite a return. She’s able to cover friends, coworkers and the kid’s favorite teachers through the years. In all, about 20 different people will receive a 12” tin of assorted chocolate bark and pretzels. There’s dark chocolate with macadamia and coconut to mint chocolate. Any number of dried fruit and nuts and crushed candy bits make their way into the mix. Production of the bark takes usually the better portion of a weekend. This includes packing them complete with a printed bark checklist.

In short, the older you get the most valuable gift is time.


The simple fact that you spent time doing something creative for someone will leave a lasting memory far past the socks and gift cards. The reality is you’ll spend equal time shopping for that individual anyhow. Why not open a bottle of wine or make some tea or a cappuccino and spend a little bit of time doing something creative for that special someone?

So, if you’re struggling to shop for certain individuals, consider the gift of time spent using your imagination and creativity.

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