Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#LetsBlogOff - The Gift Conundrum

What do you give when money is no object?

The minds behind Let's Blog Off do their best to stump me again with a pre-holiday topic that took way more thought than it should have. 

This weeks question:  If money were no object, what would be the perfect gift? Whether it’s for yourself or for somebody else, what thing would you give that you won’t or can’t give now?

I literally tried to go in 10 or more directions: feed the hungry, educate the masses, work to cure terminal diseases(even getting myself a rockin' Bugatti concept car). Each time I was unfulfilled in my quest to answer gift conundrum. So I thought, "What's a small thing that makes me and those close to me truly happy?"

I ended up with a strange answer. Rest.

Before you #LetsBlogOff readers start scoffing at me for picky something like (in my mushy voice) love and family, hear me out. I can attach a dollar value to rest(well, kind of).

Through the years of being in the home design and home building world, I've(thankfully) been introduced to the concept of 'slow home'. Now I think that the slow home movement has many different interpretations and I know that my thoughts don't exactly mirror everyone elses but that's the brilliance of design and choosing someone to help one develop the feeling of 'home'. Slow home really embodies the principles of efficiency and  support. It's about building a positive space that will sustain and reward your family(and being there to enjoy it). It's the kind of space that you won't want to leave.

The definition(two of) of rest according to Webster: relief or freedom, esp. from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs. Mental or spiritual calm; tranquility.

Now, when you go home are you really able to rest? Have you created a space that encourages mental and spiritual calm?

Your home should be a haven and too often we are all guilty of introducing disturbing elements in to our own personal spaces. These 'things' could be items, emotions, etc. If you're like me you probably take some work home with you and it's more than likely that there is a television in your bedroom(there's one in mine too, and I need to take a dose of my own advice and ditch it).

There is no solution to slowing every one's lives down enough so everyone is happy and chipper, but there is a way(albeit far-fetched) to give everyone a little boost of good cheer when they open the door to their home. What is it? It's called hiring a good, qualified designer.

 I like DIY just as much as the next guy, and there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with creating something that adds to your home. I'm not saying that's bad, just that it's worthwhile to have someone to help you along the way.

So that's my gift to you(with my bottomless pocketbook): A new look at home courtesy of a good interior designer. Think your mental/emotional/spiritual health would be better if you lived in these photos? Of course it would.

Now on to my little holiday gift rant/comments: Everyone that I would buy a gift for this year needs nothing. I need nothing. I know that it's special to get a little extra treat at the holidays but how awesome is it that we've been blessed to the point that we don't need anything? As the years go by, it's almost a guilty feeling I get when I open gifts usually knowing up front that it's something I could live without, knowing there are those less fortunate than we are so close in our own communities. I know that retail drives many of our lives and saying that gifting is bad would put a serious dent in lots of our livelihoods, but I just can't shake the notion that the spoiled are getting more spoiled and those going without are going with even less. 

I know that's a little sermon-y for you, but it's how I feel. This year, I'm going to be thankful for the gifts that I don't have to put under the tree like family and friends, the fine food we'll eat, and a few slow moments to reflect on just how blessed we are. 

Sure wouldn't hurt if I had a set of keys to that Bugatti Galiber under the tree.

Hmm... I'd make that look real good. 

Let's Blog Off is cool and fun, just because I say so. It's an every other week gathering of some of the greatest minds/bloggers I've ever run across. Think you couldn't hang with us? Think again my friend. If I can play along, anyone can. Click the box below and check it out.

Make sure that you read the other folks that have spent the fives of tens of minutes sharing their thoughts. Leave them a comment and tell them what you think.


  1. Bravo Nick. I have the same gift-giving conundrum every year that you do.

  2. My wife and I are childless, so we really do have the gift of rest. We also have the enormous gift of being able to have coffee together every morning, a half hour or so of teasing and laughing. Once in a while we make plans for the day, but mostly, it's just spending time for each other. And there is a lot of rest in just being able to do that.

  3. Paul- There's a bit of comfort in knowing I'm not alone.

    Joseph- I'm glad to hear that you value the same things that I do- Perfect comment, thanks!

  4. Very nice, Nick. You hit on a wonderful intangible without the glibness of world peace. I haven't slept well since our oldest was born in 2000. I wouldn't mind finding a package of rest with my name on it.

  5. What a great point: "Everyone that I would buy a gift for this year needs nothing. I need nothing."

    When it comes to gift-giving, I always try to give people something they can use, not just something that will sit in their house, taking up space. I think its as close as I can get to giving them something they "need" because you are so right - most of us have found ourselves in life situations where we are no longer deprived of necessities. We often get lost in the flurry of Secret Santas and excessive gifting, here's to getting back to basics!

  6. If I'm not overly transparent as being a big mush through my posts (metaphorically speaking as I stand a whopping 5'8") then I'll outright say it; I'm sappy and ok with it. I believe that it's not the presents under the tree but the presence of those around it that matter most, and your comment "I'm going to be thankful for the gifts that I don't have to put under the tree..." followed that same thread perfectly. Nick, if you were struggling last night to focus on a clear topic, you certainly composed yourself well and delivered a truly outstanding piece. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  7. David- Thanks for the comment and I wish I could offer some advice, but you'd have to call my parents. ;-)

    Chamois- It's refreshing to think about how simply we could live!

    Jamey- Thanks for the kind words, friend. I must confess though, I went to bed with nothing accomplished. For some reason, my #letsblogoff posts have to come to me the next morning(usually around 5am). It's almost like turning in an important paper at the last minute- Guess it's a good thing I'm okay with working under pressure.

  8. The gift of rest. What a great gift really... I think I could package that one. Like a wrapped box with a note that says, "I'll take your kids for the weekend... go somewhere wonderful with your husband." (OK THAT"S The GIFT I HAPPEN TO WANT, but you get the idea)... We can all think of something we could do for someone else that would help them get some rest, right?

  9. Nick, what a lovely post! Not sure how I missed it on Tuesday but I found it a couple of days late via the #slowhome Daily - hooray for hashtags.

    I believe your suggestion that the Slow Home movement is about making your home a haven and making time to enjoy it with the people you cherish, and your observation that professional designers are uniquely able to make that ideal a reality, are both spot on.

    Santa, if you're listening, hubby and I would love the "I'll take your kids for the weekend" note in our stockings, or even tickets for grandparents to come visit... sigh.


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