By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
My son inspired me to write this blog. I recently asked what he wanted for his birthday. He could have asked for a big gift, and I was prepared to give it. But instead he said, “A scarf.”
Of all the things in the world, he just wanted a scarf to keep him warm in this freezing winter. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even need to buy one. Last year, I bought some nice wool scarves from Scotland as emergency gifts. I never realized my son needed one, too.
In this cold weather, we need lots of things to keep our body temperature from dropping. Instead of fancy gifts, I suggest practical gifts to warm your loved ones. If you still have not done your Christmas shopping, here are some ideas for you.
1. Scarves, hats, gloves, socks
You can’t go wrong with any of the above-mentioned items. Women need more than one warm scarf because we need to wear one to match the color of our coat. The same goes for hats. I have at least 10 different hats in my closet to match different outfits and occasions.
And gloves, I need more pairs because I often lose them. It will be handy to have other pairs around.
A box of thick socks will be good for men. Buy different colors and patterns, casual or formal, to fit all occasions.
You can find these items everywhere, including drug stores and malls. Plus, most of these items are now on sale.
Winter slippers are nice gifts. In fact, I bought one for myself from Macy’s last week. I thought it would cost more than $20. I spent just over $8 with a Macy’s card.
The price will tell you it’s not wool, it’s polyester. What’s important is that when I wear them, I feel like I am wearing wool because it’s so warm. I can’t tell the difference.
When we get up in the morning, we need something to protect our feet from the cold floors in the bathroom, living room, or kitchen.
3. Hand and foot warmers
In this freezing winter, my hands and feet are constantly cold. So I bought the warmers under $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond. They are about $10 each. The velvet one warms up the bed quickly. The small one I hold in my hand, and it works like magic.
4. Asian tea
If your body is cold, try ginseng tea for a few days. It will raise your body temperature.
Green tea is one of my daily breakfast treasures. During the holidays, we eat too much greasy food at parties. You need green tea to cleanse your body. Research has found that it is filled with antioxidants and it improves brain function, lowers cancer risk, and releases stress. It also has less caffeine than coffee. Asian green teas are cheap, and come in a great variety. Most tea comes in a colorful medal box. You don’t even need to wrap it.
Also, it’s wonderful to support our community’s Asian grocery stories.
For kids, I try very hard not to give them toys, but books. It will stimulate their imagination. If your friends can read your gift to their kids, it will bring the parent and child closer together. Your friends’ kids will remember you more. There are tons of good books for children at discounted prices at many bookstores.
I support authors with money and not lip service. Every year, I buy at least 10 books from different authors.
Books are valuable gifts. You can pass the book to someone else after reading it or your receiver can do the same. What better way to enrich someone’s life through knowledge and information!
For some, the holidays are a time for indulgence. Whenever you are invited to dinner parties, bring with you a bag of chocolate chip cookies. We all have our own favorite brand of chocolate chip cookies. It’s time to share them with your friends and family when you visit them at their home.
7. Give, give, give
This time of the year, I receive many solicitations for donations. The best “ask” letter or flyer is from the Rotary Foundation. It details with photos where your money goes. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words. A $10 donation will provide bed nets in countries like Uganda, where malaria is a major health concern. For $15, it will pay for polio vaccines in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. For $100, it will pay for sewing machines, as well as training to show entrepreneurs how to turn sewing skills into a business. So write a check now because you are the fortunate one.
It’s never too late to get a gift for your loved ones. Just do it.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.