Gifts for Dads

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My son in his grandfathers’ glasses, winter 2011

Today my Dad would have been 76 years old. It’s hard to imagine him a day older than 61, his age when he passed, and he seemed more like 45 when he reached 60. He was a dapper dresser, loved his cigars, played soccer from the time he was a boy and loved to fish and garden. He believed in self-reflection, creative expression and was a devout patron of the arts. He was always a good father, but became a great Dad as I got older. I miss him everyday and wish he could see his grandchildren and the life I have today, as I think he would be proud, satisfied and experience joys not yet revealed to him when his life was cut short.

This list include gifts I think he would have wanted, and that I would have wanted to give him, had time and circumstance been different. I’ve also often said “dead people don’t have birthdays” so I’m about to contradict myself when I say Happy birthday Daddy. I love you. I hope this makes you smile wherever you are.

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Giving Back: Operation Backpack

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I’m very lucky. I try to count my blessings often and every once in a while I am reminded of just how blessed my life truly is. For example, back to school shopping means accompanying my children and their 2-3 page lists of teacher-mandated items to Staples and Target, filling their carts and getting ready for the year ahead. This activity fills them with anticipation, excitement, probably some anxiety… and they get to exercise some control over the future (yes I want that pencil box, no not that book bag) and that’s cathartic in some way, I’m sure (ok, maybe it just is for me). It’s easy to take these things for granted: that I have the ability to provide for them, that they are happy, pretty well-adjusted kids living a safe, relatively normal life and that this is time we get to spend together.

It’s not like that for everyone.

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Gifts For Moms & Grandmas

July 4th Lobster Bake: Three Generations
From left to right back row: my grandmother, mom, aunt
Front row: my son (2) and daughter (4.5)
I am behind the camera

My mother’s birthday is at the end of August–sometimes falling right in the middle of Labour Day weekend (if you want further proof of this, see my earlier post on her Summertime Tea Party). What’s really interesting, or at least it was for me, is when you see your mother in action as not just “mom” but as “grandma”… particularly if this is to your children, and in my case since I was my mothers’ only child this was the only way that was going to happen. Putting on my gift-giving hat, this is a very cool challenge because I get to think about different kinds of gifts for her from my children and work with them on the selecting and assembling.

Baby Gifts for Office Mates

20120718-002947.jpg This last April I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen in a very long time. When last we spoke, he had been trying (with his partner) to have a child and because physically together they are unable to conceive, “trying” is really not the fun “trying” that some of us get to do. When I saw him in April, he told me they were finally expecting and then through the modern miracle that is Facebook, this last week I saw a beautiful picture surface of him as a proud Daddy cradling a precious newborn baby. I was so overjoyed for him I started to tear-up, all I could comment was “So beautiful!” And now…what to give?
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Tooth Fairy Gift Ideas

When the tooth fairy comes whether it’s for the first or the tenth time, you always want it to feel special…these moments are fleeting and before you know it they will be in braces and then a retainer which you’ll then be reminding them to pack for college and…oh, gosh I’m getting misty thinking about it.

Money is always an option and there’s lots of opinions on how to handle it: a larger amount for the first tooth (say $5), then a smaller, but consistent amount for the rest (like $1-$2); or always giving a special silver or gold coin.  The ideas I’m sharing below are if you decide not to go the cash route (I’ve always preferred not to give money as a gift).

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Gifts for Camp Care Packages

If you’ve sent off your little guy or girl for the summer chances are someone is expecting a care package pretty soon. It’s been a while since I was on the receiving end of one of these, but I remember when mail was called and feeling super lucky when I had not only a letter but a package too! Now as a parent, there are so many things to consider when filling that corrugated box. Most camps will confiscate food products of any kind–so why waste money on them. Plus, you up your chances of attracting bugs and you-know-who is going to have to clean those clothes and scrub that sticky trunk when the summer is over.

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