If You Could Ask –

for useful things for Christmas, what would you want?

(PLEASE, if you are planning to start off your comment with why you don’t buy or give or receive Christmas gifts, save it. You might be Jewish, Old Calendar Orthodox, strict Puritan, or something, but we’ll go into those arguments some other time. The point is to clarify what is important to us in our daily life. We are of the earth, earthy, so we need material goods from time to time.)

Everyone likes to be given a wee gift occasionally. It isΒ a way of reminding us that they care, that they want the best for us, and that they are participating in God’s generosity and hospitality.

This is a list of things I would graciously accept and not regift! It is not a hint! Except to family members!


Coffee, herbal teas, whole herbs and aromatics – cinnamon, nutmeg, white peppercorns, juniper berries, maple syrup, unpasteurized local honey, vinegars – white wine, balsamic, olive oil, chocolate.


Natural soaps – lavender, plain, or myrhh; good white bobby pins; cornered kapps.


Beewswax candles, all-cotton dishcloths and tea towels, canning jars, glass storage containers.


Complete works of C.S. Lewis and N.T. Wright; writings of George Fox, Wiliam Penn and the early Anabaptists; books by John Howard Yoder; Dickens, Dostoevsky.


Works of the Church Fathers and Max Lucado; back support pillow for reading in bed; long underwear; reading glasses.

I doubt if you will find any of this at a Black Friday sale, though.

the greatest gift of all


29 thoughts on “If You Could Ask –

  1. Soft comfy woolen long socks

    Hopi ear candles

    Woolly tights

    Weleda rose moisture cream

    Vegetable seeds – runner beans, broad beans, carrots, beetroot, radish.

    Old flannel plaid/check pyjamas and shirts, the fabric softened by much washing, to cut up and make into kapps.

    Lavender wax polish.

  2. What I would like: new headcoverings, canning jars, storage containers for my pantry, fabric, dresses, books on canning and gardening, oil lamps, dry erase board for homeschooling, laminating machine, cardigans, spatulas for the kitchen… These are all on my list of things to get as I can, but it would be wonderful if any were given as a gift. Of course, I am always happy just spending time with family.

  3. Yarn is always nice or fabric for dresses and coverings. Or cross stitch things. I like to give away handmade things and that is why I like yarn or cross stitch things. Some towels would be nice as mine are getting pretty sad looking. LOL! A good Christian book or two or cd’s of Mennonite or Amish singing groups. Mostly, a quiet day to reflect on the wonderful things God has given to me.

  4. When I was asked by the relatives what I wanted for Christmas I couldn’t come up with something that I needed or even wanted. I have now come up with that I would like to get a subscription to a certain magazine I like, but that is the only thing. I could perhaps try to come up with something else but I would be fine getting nothing.

      • Haha, they would say ‘what do you mean, shower caps, or what?’

        Part of the confusion would be that when I am with them I only wear scarves… They are not very religious and they think I am strange enough so I do not need to give them any extra fuel. They do know I wear one though when I am not around them but I give them the ‘gift’ of not having to bother about what people will think when I am in my hometown. I know what that town is like, people are so far up each others business I am surprised they get anything done at all. I guess there are good things with that too, people do care about each other in another way than in a bigger town.

  5. For Christmas, I’d like someone to come to my house and take a bunch of stuff away! Right now my looking-for list is seventies and eighties Little People Fisher Price sets for the older boy.

    Most of those things could be had at a Black Friday sale. The exceptions would be the bobby pins, the kapps, and the canning jars. And I’d get the books from abebooks.com or bookfinder.com; those have the best prices on a fairly consistent basis.

    • I love those vintage FP toys! My sisters and then my sons had them. I think they are better made than the newer ones. I did see some at a thrift store recently. Thanks for the tips on the books, I buy so rarely that I forget about them.

      Could you really get beeswax candles at a Black Friday sale? Hmm…

      • You definitely could here. I see them at Winners. It might be because of our Waldorf-hippy-west coast thing, but beeswax candles are pretty common.

        Dish clothes: http://www.theraglady.com. I have ordered from her before and had good experiences.

        They are better made and more fun then the new ones, and they have NO SOUND EFFECTS. Whoever came up with the idea that every toy needs to make some tinkery little electric sound really had it in for mothers.

        Do you ever use Project Gutenberg? If you don’t mind reading off of a screen, you can get most of your list there.

        How many kapps are necessary for a rotation? Do they get dirty, because they’re white? I noticed that headcoverings are a popular need here.

      • I used to buy my dishcloths and beeswax candles at our farmer’s market. Cheap, well-made, local. The dishcloth lady had the stall next to ours.

        I can’t read off the screen for long until I get my bifocals changed, and I’ve been looking for some online sources, so will add that one to my list.

        Three or four kapps will do most of us, washing them once a week. I would like a slightly different style for wearing under sun hats – that’s the cornered kapp, which fits behind your ears and doesn’t have ties. My kapps seem to get grimy because I’m often touching my hair or something to tuck in the loose bits, and the kitchen is hard on kapps, with steam and frying.

        I think the only noise the older FP toys made were gentle mechanical sounds, no batteries – the barn door moo’ed. It was cute.

  6. I have decided that my “big” gift from my husband this year is going to be a Kindle. He feels the need to buy me at least “one big” gift. Since I really didn’t want anything, I thought if I switched to the Kindle I would at least stop taking up space in the house with all my books. I also thought I would be doing more for the earth by not wasting all those trees.

    Other than that, I would ask for a calendar for my briefcase for next year. I have a list of books that I wanted and I need more leggings. I wear the spandex leggings under my skirts and find that they keep in the warmth without being bulky in work. I also find that they keep my leg brace from bitting into my leg.

    The boys need new sheets for their beds (I have no idea how theirs get the way they do) and some new winter shirts.

    The husband is a mystery as of yet. I have not figured out what he will need or want. He gave me a “wants” list but I vetoed it with sound reasoning. So now I need to figure out his needs.

    • Socks? Don’t men always need socks? I asked for socks one year and what I got were ankle high fashion socks with cute designs on them. Go well with Plain dresses, right? Specify: Knee high wool socks in plain black, grey or brown! School girl socks! For me, not DJ’s husband!

      • It has been said that a truly happy man is one who has never needed to buy a pair of socks or underwear for himself in his life, he has always had a caring woman buying them for him…

  7. My mother asked what I wanted for Christmas, and I asked for a pitch fork, she looked rather dismayed. I explained that it will be used a lot, and appreciated!!
    Otherwise I agree with your list Magdalena. I would add some nice cheese, or good chocolate!

      • Let me know if you do. I’ll send you the info. for the place I got Colin’s scythe last year. He loves it so much he uses it to cut the grass in Ella’s play yard instead of using the mower!!

  8. So as I was making my shopping list for the Christmas sales, I asked my husband if he needed socks. Low and behold he did. He also claimed a need for underware but I had a spare package in the closet for him. So socks it is.

  9. Socks for my husband! (it seems that we all need them!)
    Long wool skirts for me for the winter. I only have light cotton ones, so I wear jeans all winter long.
    An Icon (we don’t have any yet)
    Lamps! I would love lamps!

    • I made our icons. Colour copy or colour print the image to the size you want; paint a wooden plaque black or gold; use mod-podge to affix, once dry, paint over the whole thing with mod-podge. Use the glossy, not the matte. You can ornament them too, with gold doodads from the scrapbook aisle. It’s just like collage. Mod-podge is gel medium in the art supply store. I used to sell these for $15-$30.

  10. I’d love a good cast-iron omlette/pancake pan (thoughtfully seasoned before being given to me), and a rather expensive item; a proper steel kitchen knife, blacksmith-made; there is at least one blacksmith in aus who makes these for chefs and professional cooks who have enough $$$ to splash out on something like this, but oh me!! I’d only neeed the one and it’ll last far longer than I will!! !!, a proper terrine, or and these I’ve been after for years, a set of six anodised alluminium tumblers (the coloured ones) these are excellent for keeping cool drinks cool in summer, do not break and are something I would very much appreciate as an addition to our kitchen here. I dream of an arger one day, but that’s simply covetousness!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    and, yes, one can never have enough cape-dresses…

    For the lady looking for warm winter skirts, take a look at http://www.thekingsdaughters.com their prices are excellent and their cord fabric is lovely, as is their flannel. I have several cord pieces and wouldn’t be without them.

    • You’ll have to explain what an arger is – I think your voice recognition software made that out of Aga! There was an article on Agas in the Toronto Star yesterday. Lovely, but who could afford the gas?! They are on all the time, and in our northern clime, that would simply be wasteful – they might heat an English house well enough, but not a Canadian one!

      I now have a full complement of good knives. I inherited three good carbon steel knives, including a sabatier chef’s knife, and I have acquired three excellent stainles steel knives from Wusthof and Henckel. Two came from a rummage sale; one was half-price at the supermarket. I have one serrated knife that I may replace with a really good paring knife instead, but that can wait. I use a sheathed hunting knife for paring and small-knife work. I could use a cleaver, as well, but I doubt if I can afford the best quality one that I would want, so will wait.

  11. Mmmmm, a woodstove. I know we’re in a rental and can’t install it, but if I could, if someone could afford it, that’s what I’d wish for. πŸ˜€

  12. For Christmas I asked my family for 2 hatboxes, decorated any way they wanted (my granddaughter is a gifted artist and loves to craft things), but still stackable. I need one for coverings and one for bonnets. I have asthma and dust is one of my big triggers, so dust-free headwear is important. I also asked for neutral toned winter gloves. I am hoping to be able to go out on my own around our tiny town and walk my service dog a lot more once I get the wheelchair.

    One sister at the Christmas potluck last Saturday gave me the gift of where to find reasonably priced coat-weight wool, a mill ends outlet store location. This is our third winter in South Dakota and I don’t have a winter coat. So, far this winter I’m wearing my old SCA cloak; (1) it’s too flashy as it is red with gold and black trim and (2) it’s only suit weight wool.

    My daughter always gets me lovely *dark* chocolate for Christmas. Now I’ll get to practice self-control in eating it as the hypoglycemia is becoming more of an issue.

    I knit my own wash cloths and hand towels out of cotton. It gives me entertainment to make them and they have now officially become less expensive than purchased ones. My personal cloths are made out of fingering weight organic cotton. I have found that my skin does better with these wash cloths and some plain goats milk soap my daughter bought a bar of for me. Now my daughter is trying to remember who she bought the soap from. I do make personal cloths just a little larger than my outstretched hand.

    The worsted weight peaches and cream type of cotton on the cones is good for the wash cloths and hand towels for the grand children and kitchen wash cloths. I made a wash cloth out of the organic cotton for each of the grandchildren with a raised design each chose. You would think that at 10 and 13 years old they would take care of them. They left them on the floor and one of the dogs chewed them. We’ll try again in a few years.

    I have some nice washable grey fingering wool for a pair of socks for myself. I need to find some sportweight wool and make some for each of the rest of our family. I have one pair of grey and cream socks I made 5 or 6 years ago. One pair for the car emergency kit and some pairs for home use. I told my daughter that I was going to make heavier socks for the kids and just unravel the toes and add on when they out grew them. My daughter thought that was mean, but this year I’ve given away several pairs of children sized wool socks because their feet are growing soooo fast. So, even if the added on toes are another color, who is going to know what is inside their shoes? If they take their shoes off they can blame their batty grandma. I can take it.

    Coverings, bonnets, capes and dresses are things I get to make for myself. Heavenly Father wants me to stretch my sewing abilities by teaching myself how to upsize modern patterns, make things without a pattern and just get it done on these items by giving me a slim purse and large figure. LOL

    My super big ticket item is an electric wheat grinder. We have a hand cranked one, but it does not grind quite as finely as we would like. I can make nut butters with it though!

    The one thing I’ve been looking for has been boots for every day and definitely for winter. I have some years old Birkenstocks (that I found greatly discounted) that are still going strong, but the semi-mary jane design has a split between the front and back of the shoe. They fill with snow the few feet from porch to car, as it takes me several minutes to make it that far with my service dog. I need regular lacing over the instep and lacing hooks on the leg. I’ve worn a US women’s 6 1/2 wide since I was 12 years old. I’ve tried looking for paddock boots and found some in the lower price range, but they come in whole sizes and only in the average width. . . even the boys sizes. Maybe it won’t be so much of an issue when I have the wheelchair.

    I already have my daughter, with whom I live and is such a blessing to me, her children and our rescued fur kids (3 dogs and my hand-raised but doesn’t like most people cat). I have started over from nothing or next to nothing several times in my life and I’ve found that if you have those you love you have everything you really need. The rest is nice, but no **thing** in the world makes up for a loving daughter, semi-obnoxious grandchildren and fur kids.

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