Tradition is Born

My dad doesn’t like creating gift lists. He actually would prefer to do just about anything else. In recent years he has dug in his heels.

“Dad, what do you want for Christmas?”

“I don’t need anything.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“Give me cash.”

Cash Gift

To me, giving an actual gift has meaning, whereas a gift card or cash (while convenient) leave something missing for me as the giver. I know it is supposed to be about the recipient and not me, but once it devolves to where $20 bills are exchanged, it really defeats the whole purpose.

A few years ago I called and asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday. You’d think I’d learn, but I can be stubborn, too. In many ways I am my father’s daughter.

“Come up and watch football with me.”

That was a gift request I would willingly fulfill. I was so glad I was persistent! I love giving experience gifts!

Ever since then I’ve gone up on the Sunday closest to his birthday to celebrate, bringing food and sometimes beer, and we’d watch the game together.

There have only been two years that I missed: the year that I had knee surgery only two weeks before, and then one year it was snowing and the roads were impassible.

For me, this tradition is great. I get to see my Dad and Barb and catch up, PLUS I get to watch football! So this is what I am going to be doing this Sunday. I already know what food I’m going to bring, and it looks like our team hasn’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet! It could be an exciting game!

Is your family into gift lists, or do you just wing it when selecting gifts? What non-holiday traditions do you enjoy most?

6 thoughts on “Tradition is Born”

  1. Haha, I’m like your dad in that when people ask what to give me for gifts, I say cash or nothing. Honestly, I rarely ever need anything so cash is really the best gift. Lately, people have been pushing back so I’ve extended it to plane tickets (usually for my wife who gets the benefit of going too) or airline miles. Sometimes I’ll put off buying something simply so someone can get it for me as a gift.

    I like the idea of experiential gifts – trips, family get-togethers and things like that. I’d rather have those things than more stuff.


    1. It does make it a little more difficult for the gift giver. At least now people know that experiences are well received. That will make it easier on them for ideas in the future.


  2. I guess we kind of do both – usually someone will say “OK, what would the people in your house like for a gift or what do they need?” And we go from there. If I know there is something the Hub has his eye on, I might shoot an e-mail to an inquiring mind if I know there will be a gift occasion coming up.

    I’m difficult – I rarely have an answer to these questions. I either truly don’t need anything or can’t think of a thing. Occasionally, when I do, I have to give the Hub a seriously obvious “hint” – which means I have to say it straight out. Kind of takes away the fun.

    We are all big on the experience gift – play tickets, something like that. In a few weeks, me, Sister, Mom, and Kidzilla are taking a girls night to a local “fancy” hotel for an overnight. After Sister’s wedding at the same hotel, Kidzilla wanted desperately to stay overnight. We absolutely could have, but we had no idea that would appeal to her and so it never occurred to us to book a room. At the last minute, that simply wasn’t going to happen. So we’re going to make it an intentional thing – overnight stay, brunch, shopping in town. She will love it. I think we all will.


    1. What a wonderful gift you are giving Kidzilla – that is truly an experience she will remember.

      Growing up, starting in September, whenever my sister or I would ask for anything, my mom said we should “put it on our gift lists.” That did two things: 1) we quit begging for stuff since we knew we wouldn’t get it, and 2) it kept our lists more pure – since we were checking back to it so often, we would cut out things we no longer wanted and it wouldn’t be so heavily influenced by the commercials that aired non-stop in December. My mother is a smart woman!


  3. I’m currently down in Arizona helping my oldest daughter with her newborn twins. I brought 2 baby quilts I’d made and some sock monkeys that a friend made for them. While feeling bad I didn’t have something for her older daughter, I asked what she would suggest for a gift. She suggested I just take her somewhere – for pedicures together or to a movie – which we did – and it was the best kind of “experience gift” like you so aptly named it. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of one on one time and also time away from those new siblings. Those are best. How nice that you got the time and the football game with your Dad.


    1. How wonderful that your older granddaughter got to spend alone time with you. Now that everything is all about the twins, that must have been very special for her. Maybe you can turn that into a tradition for her.

      I got really lucky with this year’s journey to my dad’s: there was supposed to be 8″ of snow on the ground and there was a threatened local blackout of the game. Fortunately, enough tickets were sold and the storm never materialized.


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