I am surprised I haven’t written about this before, but I love practical Christmas gifts.
While some might open a present of socks and groan, I’m like, “Socks? Sign me up!”
Here is the funky pair of Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation socks Eldest Son and his partner got me this year for Christmas. They picked this particular pair because they know of my penchant for circles.
What makes a gift practical in my eyes is it’s usefulness on a daily basis. The more I’m likely to use it, the more practical it is.
This year, I received several Christmas gifts that would get the side-eye from most people:
- A clothing steamer
- A tailor’s ham and seam roll
- A heat-resistant ironing glove
As a fiber artist, I iron a lot. I have long wanted a tailor’s ham and seam roll in order to iron those tough areas that can’t be easily ironed on the board. (Opening and pressing flat the side seams on pants demands a seam roll, for example.)
The heat-resistant ironing glove is good for holding areas that I need to get the iron into without burning my fingers.
After buying a piece of fabric that was a mix of silk and cotton, I was interested in having a steamer so I could more gently work out the wrinkles.
These are the ultimate in practical gifts for me and I will use them often.
I also consider music to be a practical gift, specifically CDs that I can digitize and load to my phone. I listen to music every chance I get. In fact, I’m listening to Aurora’s “A Different Kind of Human,” as I write this. It was one of the CDs I received for Christmas this year, along with her album, “All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend,” as well as Muse’s “Origin of Symmetry” and “Showbiz”. We’re only a week from when I received these CDs and I have already listened to all of them, some several times (cough, cough … Aurora … ahem).
As a book lover, I always enjoy getting books as gifts, though I wouldn’t say all of them are practical. Practical books are those I turn to again and again, rather than those I read once and shelve. This year, I received two practical books: Liz Haywood’s “A Dressmaker’s Companion” and Austin Kleon’s “Keep Going”.
I’ll have more to say about Liz’s book in a later blog post, but upon first opening it, I landed on the entry about ironing and pressing, which was very appropriate given the other gifts I received this year. In it, Liz explains the difference between ironing and pressing, which is something I haven’t run across elsewhere. With the practical sewing advice offered, I suspect I’ll be dipping into this book on a regular basis.
As for Austin Kleon’s book, “Keep Going”, it’s his third providing handy, actionable advice on being an artist and maintaining a creative practice. His other books, which I already have, are “Steal Like an Artist!” and “Show Your Work!”. These books are quick reads (I finished “Keep Going” this morning after just a few days) and I return to them periodically for inspiration.
Thanks to my husband and children, my Christmas was filled with practical gifts. (. ❛ ᴗ ❛.)
As I am writing this on December 31, 2023, here’s hoping you have a happy and fulfilling New Year! 🥳🎊