I have been told there is an art to gift giving, but my belief is I have perfected the art of gift receiving and that is much more fun to write about. It all started when I was old enough to wrap a present. It was an easy talent to develop as my mother wrapped our every present up through our teenage years with the last roll of white and silver striped paper from my grandparent’s general store.

Every year, on the week before Hanukkah, we would find 8 presents waiting for us by the Menorah. Each night we were able to open only one. I was always anxious picking the first gift because “what if I didn’t get the one thing I asked for?” or more appropriately, begged for. And if I didn’t choose it on the first night I would have to wait another whole day and hope all over again. Age 10 is when I first discovered the art of gift receiving.

I couldn’t wait. I just had to have this watch with a blue strap that came with a porcelain Cinderella doll. If I’m being honest, I knew my best friend was getting one and really Mom and Dad, all I keep thinking was “please let me be cool too.” One day I took the present into the bathroom and carefully unwrapped it. There it was, my beautiful new watch! So excited and realizing I didn’t do such a good job unwrapping it, I went and got a new piece of wrapping paper, rewrapped the gift and put it back in place. Whew! No one noticed so every day I would take another present and repeat the process. When I was all done I lined them up in the order I knew I wanted to open them, one each night.

The next year I wanted hand puppets, marionettes and a puppet stage. Of course I did. My best friend had already picked hers out and she always got what she asked for. One day I came home from school to find the menorah set up with all our presents. When no one was paying attention, I took the first one and started my routine. Yes! It was a hand puppet. I was so happy but nothing seemed big enough to be the stage. Every night I opened another puppet that I’d previously unwrapped and rewrapped pretending to be excited but where was the stage? It’s finally, the last night of Hanukkah. Fighting back the tears (I’m only 11), I unwrap my last puppet. Dutifully I thank my parents and start to play. A few minutes later, my Dad walks into the room carrying a giant cardboard puppet stage. Did they know what I had been doing or was the stage just too big to wrap? I assumed the latter.

Many years later and all grown up, I confessed my art of gift receiving to my family. My Mom said they never knew and the puppet stage was just too big to wrap. Everyone laughed and I assumed that was the end of family gift surprises. Several years after that I decided I wanted a set of three bracelets which I was fairly certain my parents would give me one at a time for my birthday. The first year I mentioned it, piece of cake. I unwrapped the gift, opened the box and there it was. A few years later, bracelet number two, thank you Mom and Dad, you’re the best! A few birthdays later, same size box. I was getting the last bracelet of my dreams. I unwrapped the gift, opened the box and there was the third bracelet only in a better and unexpected version. I looked at my Mom with tears running down my cheeks and she just smiled and said, “got ya”. I learned a long time ago never to put your present out before it was time for you to open it. 

I hope each and every one of you receives whatever it is you wish for most this holiday season and admittedly, I hope I do too, even if I have to wait to open it! For those of you that haven't yet mastered the art of giving and are waiting last minute to do your shopping, here are some fun ideas from one of my favorite store, @MartinPatrick3! These are just a few of my favorite things! Happy Shopping!

  1. Colette Jaffe Terry Robe:
  2. Nima Oberoi Lunares Large Gold Jackrabbit:
  3. Tokyobay Gable Watch:
  4. Colette Jaffe Single Line Linen Collection:
  5. IMAX Worldwide HomeTyler Large Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle:
  6. Newgate Clocks Medium London Alarm:
  7. Quench Products The Bar10er in Stainless Steel:
  8. Woodchuck USA Custom Flask: