Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gift Idea

Every Christmas most of us struggle with the same problem: what to buy for the person who seems to have everything or they don’t want anything. The good news is I believe I have discovered the perfect gift (to give, but not necessarily to receive). lawn ornaments. Now before you throw the idea out like a cheap pink flamingo please allow me to regale you with the benefits.

This idea occurred to me as I traveled from town to town. Many yards and lawns had displays that could not be defined by any theme. Along side a purple dragonfly would be a plywood cut-out of a woman in a red polka-dot dress proudly displaying her back-side as she tended the flowers.

What makes lawn ornaments such a great gift is that it leaves everyone off the hook –the receiver can love it or not, it doesn’t matter; you tried, and you had fun making your selection. If the recipient doesn’t like it they can hide it under a bush or re-gift it and plead ignorance as to its whereabouts. Of course, they may really be fond of it and display it prominently. Again, it doesn’t matter.

This category can include anything to enhance the yard of those on your gift list. Obviously this is not for children, kids don’t want that junk, get them some toys, books, mittens; it’s for the adults – homeowners. The possibilities are vast and varied which means that it is entirely likely that your gift will be unique, if not despised.

I suggest you avoid purchasing birdfeeders or bird baths. These require maintenance (filling and cleaning), so if the recipient wasn’t mad at you initially they will be. I’m thinking more along the lines of something you can put outside and forget it.

I am sure you will find something that fits your taste and budget. I have seen yard gnomes, frogs, elves, dogs, fairies and heard enough wind chimes to have a pretty good idea what’s available. Of course for the real crafty you can make your own decorations, using everyday household junk and recyclable material. These seem to be highly collectable/collectible (either spelling is correct) as they can be found everywhere.

There are, of course, commercially available gifts in the outdoor category. I was at one home that had a park bench with a life-size bronze Mark Twain reading Huck Finn right there in their yard - very classy.

My favorite frog “sculpture,” was a grouping of three. One was reading a book (The Frog Prince?), another was enjoying a cup of tea, and the third one was daydreaming or merely reflecting on the day. I took a picture. I think frogs are better choices than toads – unless you are trying to send a different message with your gift.

If you’re lucky, you may even inspire someone to start a collection; because once you get a collection started you’re home free. From there on in anything remotely connected to the theme is acceptable. I tried to get my wife, Rhonda, to embrace the idea of collecting ornamental chickens. As she already had the real, live kind I thought it was the perfect coop compliment. Many of my chicken gifts have found homes among the shrubbery hidden from neighbors who may otherwise covet them.

Several years ago one of our friends gave us a large, metal sculpture shaped like a pineapple, the symbol of hospitality, as a gift. I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea so I hid it under a bush. However, I am sure it was a thoughtful and expensive gift.

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