If you are reading this and you have heard what my voice sounds like, STOP READING RIGHT NOW. Thank you.
I have a hard time shopping for my mom, but I think I came up with a winning idea this year. She loves looking through pictures and videos in her camera roll, so I’m going to make her a Chatbooks photo album filled with pictures from this year. I might make her a video version of it too.
The blog Math With Bad Drawings has this post called Twenty Questions (Of Maddening, Delicious Geometry), and I’m going to copy all the puzzles into a little paper booklet for him to solve. For someone else that would be cruel and unusual punishment, but I think he’s going to love it.
Look, the blog post even comes with a very strong warning.
SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: BEWARE THESE PUZZLES. SIDE EFFECTS CAN INCLUDE LOST AFTERNOONS, HAIR PULLED OUT IN CLUMPS, AND EXCLAMATIONS OF “OHHHHHHH, THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT” SO LOUD THEY CAN DAMAGE WINDOWS.
I’m hoping it takes him at least a month to crack all of them.
For Jiejie (aka older sister in Mandarin)
Like usual, my sister knew what she wanted: these mittens and a potted houseplant.
For my brother-in-law
Last Christmas he thought the book about Rome I got him was interesting, so I’m going the non-fiction book route again this year. These three books are on my own to-be-read list too. I heard about Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup on the podcast What Should I Read Next? It was described along the lines of “a book about a startup company that reads like a thriller”.
As for The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, I have them both checked out from the library right now, but I might have to return them before I finish reading them. The reasons are a) they’re long, especially the atomic bomb one and b) I am in a minor reading slump. It’s because I read multiple books over Thanksgiving break, and when I read a number of books in approximately the same number of days, I usually don’t want to read as much afterwards.
Exciting news is that I think I found a book that will get me out of it. It’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The book is funny and fast and fun. Contemporary books like that might be my reading slump cure. Another cure that works for me is taking a short break from reading, but that’s more of a last resort option because who wants to do that?
For my niece(!!!)
On Christmas, my niece Clementine will be two days shy from being a month old. I’m so excited to give her toys and picture books, but that will have to wait until she’s bigger than a loaf of bread. This year it’ll just be clothes. Some baby clothes are expensive, but this company called Primary is great. It has simple clothing in so many colors for a good price. I’m pumped to get her some fly apparel.
If you’ve ever read the sidebar of this blog and thought, who is Jonathan Shoe?, this is that Jonathan. His last name is not actually Shoe, but it’s pronounced like that in English. Our dads were college roomates in China and now live in the same city. They were best friends then and are best friends still. Our moms are best friends too. They talk on the phone like nobody’s business.
All that to say that I am basically required to give him something for Christmas. This year he knew what he wanted, which was splendid. Two things on his list were white slip-on Vans and Adidas pants. One time a friend mentioned how Jonathan was becoming a hipster, and in the moment I reacted in disbelief, but I’m starting to see what she means.
For Jonathan’s sister
Last year I got her books off of her Goodread’s to-be-read list, which I thought was pretty genius, but this year I’m going the subscription box way instead. Then it’s like you receive multiple gifts! There’s so many book subscription boxes, but I think she’ll really like Book of the Month. You choose out of five new books each month, and they send a beautiful hardcover copy of it to your house. Plus, I like their Youtube ads.
What are you giving people for Christmas? I love hearing other people’s ideas. If you still have no idea what to get people, here are some awesome gift guides by blogs that I read : 1, 2, and 3. Beware, 2 and 3 have gift guides inside of a big gift guide, so don’t fall into an internet dark hole please.
What gift are you most excited to give? Mine is either the photo album for my mom or the geometry puzzles for my dad. In my head they seem like such perfect presents that I already feel like there’s no way I’ll be able to top them.
What’s on your own Christmas wish list? Pennies to complete this Abraham Lincoln poster my friend got me last year for Christmas, subscriptions for various places (Headspace, New York Times, Spotify), a page anchor so I don’t have to use toothpaste to hold my book open while I read and brush my teeth.
P.P.S. Christmas tree photo from thecherryblossomgirl.