Monday, September 11, 2006

The Perfect Gift

I love giving gifts even more than I love to receive them. I take so much pleasure in matching what I think is the right gift for the right person.

I've noted the birthdays of two fellow bloggers who are born in November. Last year I decided to surprise each of them with "the perfect gift." In their case, their gifts were kits from Magnetic Poetry. Their kits were specific to their jobs, to their interests, and I know they were appreciated, as was the thought. Magnetic Poetry is a wonderful gift to buy for or send people; it is creative-- you make each kit unique with your choices of "creativity."

Even if you're not the creative type, but rather a serious nose-to-the-grindstone type, don't tell me you won't start shifting around those magnetic words as they sit on your refrigerator door. So don't create a poem or a nonsensical sentence, write a mini scientific theory or about a current event!

If I had to select the "perfect gift" for some of the bloggers I read, the list might look something like this:

Cruisin' Mom-- a gift certificate for a commercial-size tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream for each month of the year...and an OPEN HOUSE invitation to her childhood home.

A Simple Jew -- a round-trip ticket to Uman for Rosh Hashanah, and a blank journal and video camera with which to record his adventures. And to have some personal genealogical puzzles solved.

Citizen of the Month -- a Victoria's Secret catalog, hand-delivered by a Victoria's Secret model, and a daily lifestyle column in the LA Times: NEILOCHKA KNOWS BEST.

NY's Funniest Rabbi -- a life-size, room-size photo of the Kotel; tickets to a reading series at the 92nd Street Y; a poetry book with his name on the copyright page and cover.

Jew Eat Yet? -- a couple of original chairs from an Art Deco movie theater in Hollywood, and some original , signed classic movie scripts to read while reclining in those chairs. And a publishing contract. And a family reunion with ALL the relatives the world over.

PsychoToddler -- a funky-looking, funky-sounding acoustic guitar, and a recording contract and the chance to work with some of the Jewish and secular world's top guitarists.

The QC Report -- a role on THE SIMPSONS, not as the child star she was, but as the businesswoman she is, hawking her baby carriers. And an animal shelter in her backyard.

That's just a partial list of bloggers, a partial list of the perfect gifts.

Perhaps you should each send me your birthdate. I can get thinking of what would be the perfect gift for you, and you never know -- there might just be a UPS delivery man at the door with a bouquet of sunflowers for you, and a box with a huge bottle of Elizabeth Arden's SUNFLOWERS to go along with that. Or maybe a box of nice Cuban cigars and a weekend getaway to Cuba to go with that.

Then again, maybe you'll just get a card saying: "Happy Belated Birthday. Sorry I missed it, and missed sending you the perfect gift. Bet you're sorry too!"


Mia said...

Pearl, mine is on 31st October. I am just curious what you think would be the perfect gift for me. (and maybe you could tell my hubby as he never knows what to get me :D)

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, through my tears I will type this to you. How is it possible that without ever meeting me, you would know exactly what would touch my soul. (yes, icecream touches my soul, and...oh, yeah, that thing about the house)...and for open ended publishing contract for all of your beautiful writings. (a few jelly bellies would also make their way to you, along with a round trip ticket to L.A!!!)

A Simple Jew said...

Great gift, but you would have to clear it with my wife first ;) But as for the genealogical puzzles, there could not be a better gift!!


Rhea said...

You don't know me yet, but I am familiar with a lot of the blog(gers) you figured out gifts for. Great job! By the way, I am June 4.

Danny said...

Oh boy, you nailed it, Pearl. The PERFECT gift! And you are hereby invited to my family reunion because I'm sure if we really examined our family trees we'd find some connections there.

torontopearl said...

Mia: Happy early birthday. I'm picturing something very beautiful, and delicate, for you. How's about a beautiful large Murano (Italy) glass bowl or a glass globe. You've lived in several places already and a globe represents the world -- your blogger friends are scattered worldwide, too. And if it's a glass bowl, it'll be filled with hundreds of the colored almond candies you had as bonbonniers for your wedding.
(Pssst, Daniel, are you taking this all in?)

CM: Didn't mean to make you cry, of course. How's about a big spoonful of Chunky Monkey (that sounds familiar; is it a real B & J flavor?) to make you feel better?

ASJ: I'm beginning to believe that you yourself will master solving lingering genealogical puzzles.

Rhea: Thanks. Maybe by your next birthday, I'll know you better and will find the perfect gift for you. In the meantime, how's about a very expensive Waterman fountain pen to sign off your articles?

Danny: Miller/Muller -- what's the difference? My mother was a Muller. So maybe indeed we're related... I'll be happy to attend, but only if the reunion is in an Art Deco movie theater in Hollywood!

I'm beginning to think that maybe I could have a career as a professional shopper/gift buyer...

Ezzie said...

Ooo ooo! Do me, do me! :)

(Nu, what's YOUR favorite gift?!)

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I read this last night and was touched. Been thinking what to say...other than WOW, and thank you very much. If you gave me the book with my name as the author my gift to you would be a special thank you right nearby in the front of the book. Just the wish is beautiful. I was born in between Yom Kippur and Sukkot on the 13th of Tishrei, which that year was October 11th. October 11th always falls around that time, sometimes on Yom Kippur, sometimes, like this year, on Sukkot.

As always I'm impressed by your thoughtful kindness.

Not sure what I'd get you - maybe something in the world of records or books or writing. But I'd really like it to be something in the realm of wish fulfillment. Maybe a grant to go along with a writing project of your dreams...

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I wrote the previous comment from memory - the one that struck and stayed with me, clearly, was the book one. The other two are great too (even though replicas of the Kotel make me sad).

torontopearl said...

Ezzie...hmmm...("Do me, do me!"?)
Well, seeing as you're always traveling to weddings, and sometimes you have to do it solo, I grant you a nice romantic getaway WITH Serach. First you'd go to New Hampshire for a couple of days to see the changing leaves, and then you'd go to Vegas for a couple of nights to see...your money changing hands! And a qualified babysitter -- moi! -- would look after the little babe!

As for my favorite gift....? Besides my husband and children? Pearl is not an easy name to market -- in spite of my previous post! -- and unless something is custom-made, I don't usually find something (like a mug, or writing paper or magnets) being marketed with my name on it. So I guess something personalized works for me.

Neil: Unless I could actually hand you this gift, you don't have to thank me. But you're worthy of having a collection of your haiku and poetry and personal essays published...IMHO. As for the Kotel idea, it was just because I know the real thing inspired you so much this past trip, and because a recreation of sorts would be the next best thing to being there.

My birthday also fluctuates in the Jewish calendar -- this year I'll be a Rosh Hashanah birthday girl. Some years I'm a Yom Kippur birthday girl...and there's no cake for me! (I was born, I believe, during Sukkot or Chol Hamoed Sukkot)

torontopearl said...

Neil (Rabbi Neil): I forgot to say that I like your ideas too, especially the grant to help me fulfill my wish to write. You're definitely wearing a practical thinking cap!

Wishing I was a said...

Pearl, I have one thing to are such a "giver"! Look how many people you made happy just by thinking about them! How intimate and special your thoughts were! My birthday just passed, and my eyeglass perscription will need to be adjusted soon - hahaha!

Mia said...

Pearl, this is crazy, how could you know? This would be such a perfect gift for me. I love globes. Daniel once brought me a glass globe from China, written in Mandarine. You are such a wonderful person, thanks for finding the perfect gift for me - I am so touched!!!

So your birthday is soon too (I am mean mine is not really soon...), when is it?

A Simple Jew said...

Pearl: Your posting inspired me to write of one of my other genealogical puzzles that I plan to post on Friday. Thanks.

Elie said...

Pearl: My birthday is easy to remember. Hint: It's on a holiday with your name in it!

As for my perfect gift for this year, read my post from last night and you'll know!

kasamba said...

Brilliant idea!!!

I am actually thinking of giving up birthdays entirely. That way I won't age but I can still be alive.

torontopearl said...

Mia: Wow, how cool is that?! I have yet another happy customer.
My b'day is September 23rd.

ASJ: It's always a gift for me knowing that I inspire people.

Elie: Yes, I remember your b'day month, but would have to check the date. I'd been thinking of putting you on the original gift list and aside from the obvious gift that would mean the world to you, but unfortunately one that I cannot deliver, I'd thought of something in the nostalgia line, ie. the ENTIRE collection of Mad Magazines, or SNL episodes or stuff like that. Guess I wouldn't have been so far off the mark...

Kasamba: YOU'VE got the brilliant idea about giving up birthdays...and I'm sure you could start a club, call it The UnBirthday Club and use that Alice in Wonderland song title as your theme song too!

Stacey said...

This was awesome. You picked the perfect gifts for those people. It truly does feel better to give than receive.

PsychoToddler said...

Good Gawd, I don't know how much plainer I need to be:


(although the acoustic guitar isn't a bad second choice)

Ezzie said...

Thanks Pearl, good choice! I have an offer for you: One day, we'll exchange gifts. You'll watch Elianna for a few days, and we'll go to New Hampshire and Las Vegas (where money will change into OUR hands, right? :) ). In exchange, we'll get you something personalized! (With names like Ezzie & Serach, we know how you feel! :) )

torontopearl said...

Stacey: Surprised you never asked for something for yourself. I'd guess something delicate, just like for Mia. Probably a beautiful, one of a kind picture frame for you and your loved ones to put the pics in.

PT: Okay, a widescreen TV and an addition to the house in which to place it!

Ezzie: I'll go with you and Serach to New Hampshire and Las Vegas and will watch Elianna there, okay?

Ezzie said...


Sweettooth120 said...

Mia - in the US, October 31 is huge here - it's Halloween. Lots of dress up and candy galore. What a fun date to have a b-day.

Pearl, I also love giving gifts and probably spend way too much time thinking about each person and what they would like, but I do enjoy it so much despite my husband making fun of me for it. Not that you are really serious, but I a few years ago, I seriously was interested in doing exactly that, becoming a professional gift buyer/broker for professionals who travel abroad and need a gift that is culturally acceptable. Perhaps you should seriously look into it. Part-time writer, part=time consultant, or just blend them together and write articles on the subject for various business trades.

btw, mine is in early March