christmasIf it’s two weeks till Christmas and you haven’t bought most of your Christmas presents (like me), you’re in luck! This is your chance to prove your creativity, with my expertise in responding to panicky situations. I’m currently typing this with one hand while my other hand holds a binky in my infant’s mouth. Yes, I still want a hippopotamus for Christmas. (So much to ask??)

A – Alternative Art

Prints and patterns, quotes and quirky, book covers, typography and mixed media, oh my! May I suggest perusing the art section of Etsy? I love this, this, this, this and this! Isn’t localism just lovely?

Aden + Anais blankets for babies are my new favorite gift too.

B – Books

Books! Who doesn’t love getting books for Christmas? Well, almost everybody.* Fortunately for y’all, The Imaginative Conservative has an amazing and extensive collection of books in their store, including the recently re-released Kirk’s Prospects for Conservatives.

christmas presentsThat being said, here are my top five picks (in alphabetical order):

*A word of caution, if I may: books are a very personal taste. If I gave my husband a book of [must read] because it is just so good, but he’s (honestly) never going to read it in his free time, then why did I give it to him? Was the present for the giver’s pleasure or the receiver’s? Tread lightly, friends.

C – Culture

Can you give culture? Perhaps not. But you can support your favorite publications (e.g. The Imaginative Conservative) who contribute greatly to the good and the beautiful! Become a member today! And while you’re out, give out museum memberships too.

Candles are a fun gift too!

pg-3869_1zD – Diapers

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are always looking for diapers. Babies go through an average of eight diapers a day. Times 365. Times each baby. For between 15 and 25 dollars, a person can buy 150-180 diapers a pop. Now, isn’t that a lovely gift to mothers in need? Don’t forget the wipes!

E – Education

Do you know someone who needs help paying for their education? Near and overseas, there are millions of children (and heck, adults too!) who need help paying for a better education to help enhance their future.

Economics 101 is a good gift to pass on too – Henry Hazlitt wrote the book worth reading!

fruit-of-the-month-clubF – Fruit

Have you heard of Harry and David’s Fruit of the Month club? For the person who has everything, who can resist deliciousness?

G – Giving Trees

At most places of worship, I would think, there are giving trees, which you can pick presents off the tree to give to a person in need; buy the requested item(s); and return it wrapped. The cost is $20-25, and the happiness of giving another person a present (who may not receive one otherwise) is invaluable.

H – The Homeless

And in the spirit of the season, don’t forget about all the people who cannot even enjoy shelter or a good meal on a regular basis. Please contact your local shelters to see what they need this season, and/or buy gift cards for people you may see on the street. (I see a lot of homeless people in New Orleans on a regular basis; Subway is my gift card of choice!) We are called to love our fellow human beings, and part of loving them is freely giving unto them. We do not know what brought them to the streets, or what they are struggling with, but we can treat them with the dignity every human deserves.

MOG-OI – Iconography

“Christmas is not an event within history but is rather the invasion of time by eternity,” said Hans Urs von Balthasar, in his book “Light of the Word”. This Christmas, give someone a peek into eternity with a beautiful icon of Jesus. This one is lovely too. Or give them a class in iconography?

J – Jams

Every summer my family would head to northern Michigan for a few weeks, and we’d always make a pilgrimage into Charlevoix, where there is an American Spoon store. These jams and jellies are delicious, as are their other treats! Michigan cherries – what better thing in life is there?

knock-knock-to-doK – Knock-Knock Paper Products

Who says writing long-hand is silly? Friedrich Hayek didn’t think so. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI still does. Now for the real conundrum: I like the “To Do” list, but I need the “Make A Decision” pad. Oh wait, the “All Out” one is really helpful too… So many choices!

L – Latte Love

Speaking of needs… this delightful latte maker from Mr. Coffee is affordable (especially with Amazon Prime, 62% savings!) and also makes hot chocolate. What could be more delicious than a hot drink and a good book?

For a more “do it yourself approach”, this Bodum French press is also wonderful, and does not need to be plugged in; I use it often!

M – Moccasins

Men and women; boys, girls, babies. Everyone should enjoy a pair of Minnetonka moccasins. Comfortable, classic and American made to boot!

N – The Nutcracker ballet

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is timeless, and giving tickets to a live performance is magical. Otherwise, the music is divine (Duke Ellington and his Band did a cover too!); a coloring book is fun (don’t forget to give colored pencils!); and the movie is available.

oil pastelsO – Oil Pastels

Growing up, oil pastels were my favorite medium to create art with; and when was the last time I indulged in art creating? We imaginative conservatives need to not only preserve art, but create it ourselves! Even if it’s not for public consumption, the creation of art within our own life is an important task. Give thick paper too, and a set of watercolors to liven up the experience.

P – Plaid

Plaid gives cheers to tradition and family, as well as looking absolutely spiffing. For a lady, go with the pencil skirt. For a gent, I’m loving on tartan pants. (And perhaps a tie? Or an umbrella!)

Q – Quality time

Quality time is perhaps the most precious gift one can give: I suggested to the grandmas that they give more experiences to my {future} children instead of “ more stuff”.

Riedel_mainR — Riedel and Riesling

Riedel wine glasses and Riesling wine are a delectable duo for this holiday. Wine, as we know, is the gift that gives back. Wink.

S – Shaving supplies

A good shave is hard (or so says my husband); show your solidarity with a gift from The Art of Shaving! Or maybe just give the subtle hint that “No Shave November” is over…

T – Ten Thousand Villages

Looking for unique gifts while supporting vendors around the world? Look no further.

U – USB Cufflinks

Yes, they are practical and discreet. Yes, I do think James Bond would wear them.

V – Verily Magazine

Want to buy a young lady a lovely women’s magazine? This one is reasonably priced, non-superficial, gorgeous and well-written.

rosefrench_1323116172_christmaseveW – Worship together

There are few things more beautiful than the family who prays together. This season, even if you consider yourself more spiritual, go to church with your family and remember the reason for the season: Christ Jesus, our Savior.

For an extra treat, Wall Street Journal subscriptions are also on sale!

X – Xylophone

Encourage the joy of playing music with a xylophone! I had one as a child and loved mine. Melissa & Doug has a whole deluxe band set too, and a basic, for those wanting to liven up the silent nights. This glockenspiel includes a song book.

Y – Yarn

When my sister tore her ACL, our neighbor taught Katie how to knit, and she has gone on to make hats and scarves for all! A gift for anyone who wants to learn a new skill. And while you’re at it, you can learn to crochet too. And sew! This book, this book and this book teach you the skills you wish you had learned sooner.

duck-dynastyZ— ZZ Top

Did you know ZZ Top is a band of conservatives? It’s true. Or maybe you just like their beards. In that case, hop over and watch Duck Dynasty. Their beards are awesome and so is the show, which portrays a family business that believes in God, family and duck hunting (in that order).

Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

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