The gift post!

We have ideas from two totebaggers:

From Swim:

Gifting gone wrong, and of course it’s opposite – gifting gone right.

From Houston:

Help: Are you having trouble finding that perfect gift for a friend or family member? Ask the Totebag community for suggestions.

Traditions: What are your family’s gift giving traditions? Have they changed as you’ve had kids, or your kids have grown up?

It’s all about me: What are you hoping to receive as a present? Do you buy yourself a present during this time of year?

Complaints: Complain about any aspect of holiday gift giving. Grinches welcome!

Advertisements

154 thoughts on “The gift post!

  1. I’ve been looking forward to this post. DS’s big presents are a Billy Eilish ticket and the insurance deductible for a computer he lost. (I’m not going into detail). I still want fun things for packages under the tree, and hope to get some ideas here. This is what he’s getting so far:

    A scratch map where he can keep track of countries he’s been to & goes

    A chocolate fondue set. He is really working on expanding his palette this fall, eating more herbs (not really spices yet) than he had in years. I hope this will be a fun way for him to start mixing two things together. His stocking will be pretty much all chocolate.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/KitchenCraft-Chocolate-Fondue-Set-Ceramic/dp/B000IKUBII

    A waterproof Bluetooth speaker for the shower.

    A lamp like a couple he has seen and liked. Not very exciting, but I hope the memories will enhance it in his eyes.

    Swim & Houston, I love your twists on this topic and look forward to the “gifts gone wrong” stories and other grinchiness.

  2. Guidance Needed from those of you in NE US. – DD#1 in college in Albany, NY area is complaining that she needs more “bottoms”. 5 pair of jeans are not enough because the academic buildings are so hot that she gets sweaty and is not wearing them 2-3 times each like she does in the winter at home. (And, bordering on TMI, trust me you don’t want her wearing her sweaty clothes twice!) Yet, its cold when she is outside, so she is requesting long johns or similar to wear under jeans when she is out for long periods (like waiting a bus stop, trek to Walmart, and back). The back and forth to class with jeans is OK given how hot the buildings are. Looking for solutions (and brands) for options.

  3. Our family tradition is 5 presents per person (as a family of 4 that is 3 from the other family members) plus one from Santa and one from Rudolph. Rudolph is a practical reindeer and gives things like underwear, alarm clocks, etc. The Santa gift is always fun, but not the biggest gift (that way we’ve never had to explain why Santa has a budget). Then, you get a few things in your stocking – always some candy, batteries if any other gift requires them, or an accessory another gift needs, and otherwise usually small non-food consumables and a $15 or under gift cards (most frequently books stores, but more recently amazon). This excluded grandparent gifts and anyone they might exchange gifts with outside of the immediate family.

    The big change this year was sending DD#1 a countdown to Christmas care package that had a lot of things that would normally have gone in her stocking. So, her stocking is now more challenging.

  4. We still do stockings for everyone in the family but I am having a hard time thinking of ideas for people this year (other than chocolate). Teens are much harder than toddlers!

    DD (college freshman) wants a puffy winter coat and rock climbing shoes. DS (8th grader) didn’t have a lot on his list which made it hard. He loves relaxing at home and soft things so we decided to get him some comfy lounge wear similar to what DH wears.

    DH wants a mini tripod for his camera and lights for his bike. He has front and rear lights – these are for the wheels to increase his visibility to the cars on the road.

    I always have a hard time thinking of things for me and was quite proud of myself for having several ideas. My list this year is for a facial at a place my friends have recommended; Darn Tough wool hiking socks; lavender bath oil.

  5. Austin, check this out. They just introduced little candles for some of their fragrances, but not all of them yet. https://homesickcandles.com/products/austin-candle
    Here’s another “smelly” idea. Mine likes his, and it sets you up to give other oils as future stocking stuffers. It runs on usb, so is plugged into a computer or phone charger brick. We got it at Bed, Bath, & abeyond for $11. https://www.sparoom.com/product/herbalair-essential-oil-diffuser/
    Also, the fondue set & most of the other things DS is getting are under $20 and could fit in a stocking.

  6. +1 for Uniqlo’s Heat Tech. Warning – she may want to take them off when inside. I get too hot if I wear them for long inside. I can’t sleep in them, for example. Perfect for being outdoors, though.

  7. cuddl duds are nice too. Very thin layer. I’ll wear them under my clothes in the office on the coldest days here.

  8. I’m doing well on gifts for the immediate family this year. It’s my mom and MIL I’m struggling with. The kids will send them school photos and ornaments. My mom said she wanted “peace” and “earing backings” and then bought them for herself. She’s impossible! And she really doesn’t need anything. In the past, I’ve given her airline gift cards. Any other suggestions?

  9. Our tradition is one gift on Christmas Eve, which it took me too long to figure out was always PJs; then the kids can do their stockings when they get up in the morning. Stocking is always full of stuff from the Rehoboth outlets and has an orange at the very bottom. The rest of the presents have to wait for the adults to wake up, and are then opened one at a time.

    I think/hope I finally nailed a decent present for DH this year, although we’ll see. I noticed on Cyber Monday that Frette had a massive sale on some sheets, and he has not liked several of the sets we have tried over the past 5 years or so (we had an awesome set that ripped from my ring, but they were old enough that I couldn’t remember what they were or find any identifying marks on the sheets themselves), so I picked up some. In test mode now; I like them (though not sure it’s “worth-all-the-hoopla” hype), so we’ll see about DH. And of course, the very day they were delivered, DH said that he knew what he wanted (one of those power monitoring things called Curb), so if I’m lucky I will be 2 for 2 this year. ;-)

    What I like are gifts that make life easier. I asked DH to fix my ring as my present — one of the tines on the engagement ring has bent, and I have’t been able to wear it for probably 6 months, and I have zero idea who might be a good choice to fix it (and even less interested in figuring out how to find that guy), so I asked DH to do that for me, and to have him expand both the engagement and wedding ring a half-size while he’s at it (the weightlifting seems to make my fingers swell up, so I can only really wear the rings comfortably after a few days off).

    I think DS may have pushed it too far in his requests this year. My mom just got him an iPhone for his Bar Mitzvah, which DH thought was WAY too generous. And now DS has gone and asked for another type of gaming device so he can play another game that he can’t currently do on the iPhone or PS4. DH was not happy. So I think the boy is going to get a fishing trip with dad instead, or maybe another blacksmithing lesson.

    Oh, and good timing for this post: Anyone have any ideas for funny gifts for a Hanukkah gift swap tomorrow? Funny/clever/silly definitely appreciated — we do a Yankee swap, so of course the fun is fighting over who gets what, and you want to be the one who provided the most fought-over gift. Max is officially $15, though I have been known to go up to $20-ish for just the right thing. We’re *just* a teensy bit behind in shopping/planning for that!

  10. Kerri – DH had a photo I’d taken of him and the kids made into a puzzle for his mom. I think she’ll really like it. But obviously only good if your mom/MIL likes puzzles :-)

  11. Kerri, how about gift certificates for a massage, spa treatments, private yoga sessions, meditations group, or whatever else your mom would find calming? (Or did she mean peace as in “stop bombing Yemen and get those kids some food”)

    Seattle, if he likes soft things, he might also like a soft, plushy throw blanket. Mine does.

  12. @Austin: I’d think if you can find a lot of thin long-johns, she might not actually need more jeans. The extra layer would provide the warmth she needs to get to class, and then absorb any sweat from sitting in class, so she can just wash those and still wear the jeans again.

    Or just trade the jeans for a lighter-weight wind- and water-proof pant, because jeans are horrible about letting the cold wind through, while still hot enough inside to make you sweat. Something that blocks the wind, but isn’t so heavy that you drip sweat indoors, might be more effective (yeah, I know — as if a college kid is going to give up her jeans!).

  13. S&M — I got a version of that scratch off map for my minimalist son for his new apartment. Travel is his passion, and he used to have a huge laminated map on his bedroom wall at home that he would mark up. But I know there’s only a 50/50 chance he’ll use it, so I also got a nifty frame and Command hanger to put it up for him if he wants. If he doesn’t want it I’ll take it home and use it myself.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DFM3LYS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017DL3CJY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  14. “If he doesn’t want it I’ll take it home and use it myself.”. Hehe—good attitude!

    Nothing in front of the map in that frame, eh? Very cool—thanks for posting it!

  15. I have a gift vent. My oldest really wants this particular Wacom drawing tablet. He is very seriously into digital art as well as good old fashioned sketching. Everywhere I checked (Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, Beach Camera, etc) , the tablet was $299 which is pricier than gifts we would normally consider, but I knew he had really researched the devices and that he is very serious about this hobby. So just as I went to finally buy the thing, the price jumped – by $50!!!! Everywhere!! Why would there be a sudden price jump like that?? I am so pissed. I contacted him and he said that it was OK, that he could live with the mini size of the tablet. So I went to hunt for that but it seems to be out of stock everywhere. Why did the price suddenly go up? SHould I wait and see if it comes back down?

  16. @S&M: OMG I LOVE THOSE!!!

    Group is all ages, from maybe about 6 to the ’80s — it’s DH’s whole side of the family + the pseudo-cousins. But I guarantee you the folks who would chase that option would be the 50-year-olds (and I know exactly which ones, too). Not every gift has to be appropriate for every age level, either.

  17. Stocking stuff idea – amazon has soap with money in it. You have to use up the soap to get to the money which is anything from $1 to $50. Super cute idea and definitely going on my teenager’s stocking!

    @ Austin, I love my Prana Halle pants. Sold on Zappos. Also pants from Athleta or Lululemon.

  18. Stocking stuffers for teens : ThinkGeek had a 50% off on everything sale on cyber Monday, and I went to town. They have the BEST stocking stuffers for geeky teens. I ended up snagging soft Pikachu lights for everyone, a math-themed stationary set for my oldest, a D&D calendar and a demogorgon necklace for #2, and a squirtle pocketbook and a dragon necklace for #3. And for my sib who will be visiting, Pikachu lounge pants. All at half price!!
    https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/jqmn/

  19. Austin — I like to wear leg warmers or over the knee socks under my regular pants/jeans. I find them easier than long underwear. But it’s hard to find ones that stay up. Here’s some that I might try.
    https://www.amazon.com/Kayhoma-Extra-Cotton-Stockings-Warmers/dp/B074WNV4ZF/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1544203494&sr=1-1&nodeID=7147440011&psd=1&keywords=Kayhoma+Extra+Long+Cotton+Thigh+High+Socks+Over+the+Knee+High+Boot+Stockings+Cotton+Leg+Warmers

  20. Mooshi, get him the big one! Compensate a little on his birthday if you want, but if you absolutely stick to that limit, it means he will never own anything that costs more than that, which seems a little odd. Or since you aren’t planning to surprise him with it anyway, ask him if he wants to pay the remaining $xx.xx to get the full size. And it is very cool that your math wiz has balance with the other side of his brain.

    Laura, LOL, you’re reminding me of the year ‘saac got this, and his uncles went berserk

    I can’t think of any great gift flops recently. Two recent gift successes—my niece in her first year of college appreciated the Christmas decorations and chocolate I sent her and noticed that I’d paid attention to “presentation” in packing them. I know she wasn’t just saying it to please me, because she told her mom in a text. And my parents went ridiculously gaga over an extremely pragmatic gift—the pot for their hose was corroding, but they didn’t think they could find one with the same kind of decorative frills. I did, and they flipped. It is so hard to shop for them! I don’t know if Mom’s ever heard of “death cleaning”, but that’s basically what she’s been doing for a year or two, so knick-knacks are less appreciated than ever. I was so glad to find something they genuinely got excited about.

    I’m logging off for a while now, because I don’t want to hog the board. I’ll check back later and hope for more small ideas for this boy

  21. “if you absolutely stick to that limit, it means he will never own anything that costs more than that, which seems a little odd.”
    Well, that has generally been the case. His laptop did cost more than that, but I did not consider that a gift, just an essential tool like his physics textbook. I guess the kids phones all ran right around that price point, but again, I saw those as necessary equipment, since their school kind of expects everyone has a smartphone now. But the kids at home just use the in-house computer and a chromebook, and they don’t own gaming devices. And as much as he has begged, I never did get #2 the $300 deathstar Lego kit that he coveted.

  22. And I forgot to say

    Laura, blacksmithing lessons sound awesome! For me. And for the ring/fingers that swell from lifting—why not get some gloves, instead of having a loose ring whenever you haven’t been to the gym (or haven’t done that kind of lift) for a few days?

  23. OK – now to do some shopping from all of your ideas – As the “bottoms” were a request, I asked DD#1 about wearing something thin under the jeans to allow for more wears, that received a positive response. Am also looking at a pair of the lined leggings to wear in lieu of pants.

  24. Mooshi, so give him the option of making up the difference with his own money. Also, a Lego model is a toy with one intended purpose (although the bricks can obviously be used to make other LEGO things). The drawing tablet sounds like it fits in your “tools” category, and is less likely to be outgrown than LEGO. It sounds like DS2 has already outgrown the desire for that kit.

  25. @SM: Thanks, but don’t think gloves would help — the hand/wrist muscles get used pretty massively, so I think that’s why they swell up moreso than just calluses or something.

    But inspired by this post, I have now gone on Amazon and ordered those tag vests, a Nerf crossbow, zombie gummies, and an offensive mug that I KNOW my BIL will fight to the death over. I figure if DH disapproves of anything, he can go find a replacement. ;-)

  26. LfB – where does one find blacksmithing lessons??? My daughter has been asking for that for about a year. I would love to get her a lesson or lessons.

  27. Do any of you get gifts for your trainer? I haven’t in the past when mine worked at Equinox but now he’s on his own. I give cash to our housekeeper (and nanny/sitters the years we have them) but nothing to my hairstylist (I see her roughly every 4 mos.) or newpaper guy (never met him, could be multiple people). We give cash to our condo super, doormen, etc.

  28. Our cash/tips list is pretty short: my barber (I go every 4 weeks), DW’s stylist (~6 weeks), housekeeper (more or less weekly), UPS guy. I include a tip in the monthly bill for the newspaper deliverer. Dunkin gift card for mailman/lady at $20.

  29. Laura, you get a pump that lasts for days? Dang! I didn’t know Amazon had those vests—mine were IKEA. Your gifts sound awesome!

    Austin, corduroy is supposedly coming back into style, and funky socks too. Along the lines of what July posted, compression socks wouldn’t fall down, and some of these are pretty cute. https://m.shop.nordstrom.com/sr/Compression-socks

    Ok, no I really AM going to go.

  30. Once the kids outgrew the toy phase, I don’t get gifts for them. However, there is always enough fall/winter shopping and requests for things (with links and prices texted after comparison shopping) that I call those gifts and am done. Gringy behavior perhaps

  31. I tried corduroy earlier this year (vetoed). She had a ton of socks in different lengths/styles. I’m headed out in a few hours and have added Target to the list as the one near us shows it has several styles of cuddle duds in stock. She has about 3 of their shirts that she likes, but says its been too hot inside to wear.

  32. Ditto the Cuddleduds for warm underlayer without bulk.

    Question: brother and family are going to Italy this year, I’d like to get 12 yo niece a travel guide so that she can enjoy some planning/learning about Italy. Any good suggestions for guides that would be good for a preteen?

  33. Are pantyhose coming back? I saw a bunch of ladies wearing them on their way (presumably) to work holiday parties or other dressy evening events.

  34. @MM — Honestly, no idea — I think he just googled looking for lessons. The guy is I think over on the Eastern Shore, so not exactly convenient, but not too bad.

    @Swim: from experience, something that she can read on her phone. ;-)

  35. Lonely Planet has kindle edition travel guides. Even if you don’t have a kindle, you can download the app on your phone or tablet.

  36. @Austin- I also like Uniqlo. You have to be careful though – you want the “inner wear” and there are different weights. The ultra warm are very warm. I also think the ones from Costco (32 degrees heat) are great – thin & comfortable. (I’ve worn them to plenty of cold weather sporting events.) I also think their down jackets are a good value. I have the big long one & it is very warm. I didn’t want to spend a ton of $$ on it because I really only wear it when it is <20 degrees (like today!).

    For alternatives – if you buy Athleta or GapFit pants, look for the "lined" ones. Those are quite warm. Warmer than jeans. Good for walking/riding transit in the winter. The lining isn't too bulky, and it's a wicking fabric, so good for going outside/inside.

    Like these:
    https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=907899042&cid=46800&pcid=1025878

  37. MM, there’s a maker facility here that offers blacksmith lessons, so maybe local maker places would be a start? Or blacksmith associations — contact people listed and ask if they know anyone who offers lessons? And be prepared for a parent to have to do the lesson with her, assuming they’ll take someone her age in the first place.

  38. Best gift memory: my grandmother gave me a steamer trunk when I was about 12. My older brother was 17 and had one in his room that he kept locked because obviously all his valuable treasures that you don’t want your younger siblings to touch or even know about were in there. I thought it was so incredibly cool and I begged for one for Christmas. My mother thought it was silly but gramma thought it was fine, and under the tree at her house on Christmas Eve was a huge boxy gift with my name on it, we even have old video of me tearing off the wrapping paper and screaming with joy, all tomboy in my jeans, braces and flannel shirt (my how things come back around) as if I had just won the lottery. Yes, screaming with joy at a steamer trunk. Thank you gramma!

    Worst gift was a sweater from DH, we had started dating and he got me a sweater from Weathervane (remember that store?) that had marled yellow and black yarn, making it look like a bumblebee. His heart was in the right place.

  39. “Are Spanx much better?”
    I have never worn a Spanx or anything resembling a Spanx. They remind me of the girdles of my grandmother’s generation. But Spanx are pretty optional. Back in the pantyhose era, you HAD to wear them, at least in offices and such. I never wore skirts or dresses in those days because I couldn’t stand pantyhose – they itched like crazy and developed runs within a hour or so.

  40. “that had marled yellow and black yarn, making it look like a bumblebee. His heart was in the right place.”

    That is kind of sweet. My DH, when I first knew him, gave me a hideous skirt for Christmas with multicolored vertical stripes all over it. I wore it anyway, at least a few times, when I was going out with him

  41. We’re halfway through Hanukkah so I’ve purchased most of my gifts. I went overboard buying stuff for myself. I am happy with everything I bought, but the balances on my Amex cards are painful. I just “needed” some stuff and the sales were just too good to pass up for certain things.

    We buy small things for most of the eight nights, but we did give DD a bracelet that she wanted because she rarely wants any jewelry. The other gifts were accessories for the Go Pro, make up , clothes and Ugg slippers. She is still getting other gifts from family this weekend – these gifts will include So Yummy cookbooks, LeSportsac travel tote, My nephew wanted specific games for the xbox or Playstation. Older cousins wanted gift cards from Urban Outfitters, Dicks, and Sephora.

  42. Back in the days of pantyhose, I generally wore stockings and a garter belt. If guys found out about it, they got all au la la about it, but honestly, it was much more comfortable than the constrictor around my midsection.

  43. The lined Athlete pants are great. I wear the lined running tights to run, but I also have one pair that is lined that is more of a regular pant. They’re warm and comfortable. Athleta has a bunch of different styles that are lightly or fully lined.

  44. MM, there are blacksmith classes at Muscoot farm, but I think it is for older teens or adults.

  45. Austin, another way to approach the same problem is a long coat, at least down to her knees. It’ll keep her legs warm when she’s outside, and she can easily take it off when she goes indoors, or just unbutton it in places not quite as warm as her academic buildings. It could be coupled with long socks to keep the lower part of her legs warm.

    DS got something similar, although not quite as long, that’s like a raincoat (although I’m not sure if it’s really waterproof, but it does keep the wind out pretty well) with a quilted liner than can be zipped in or out.

    Last year we got DD a long down coat (below the knee) for a spring break trip to Japan that actually happened in late winter, and it worked well for her, including the day at Disney where much of it was spent outdoors.

  46. Lauren, cool that she has & uses the GoPro. I’ve never heard of So Yummy, will go look them up.

  47. “Or just trade the jeans for a lighter-weight wind- and water-proof pant, because jeans are horrible about letting the cold wind through”

    ITA agree about jeans not blocking wind (although in other circumstances that might be a good thing and reduce embarrassment).

    DS used to have a pair of lined nylon wind pants that had were very good at keeping the wind out, and had a great warmth/bulk ratio (i.e., they won’t fill a washing machine like jeans, and dry a lot faster). Those could be worn over leggings, or even over jeans if they’re skinny enough.

  48. “Anyone have any ideas for funny gifts for a Hanukkah gift swap tomorrow? Funny/clever/silly definitely appreciated — we do a Yankee swap, so of course the fun is fighting over who gets what”

    LfB, I don’t know what a Yankee swap is, but DW and her friends do a gift swap every year where we each bring about a $10 gift, put them all in a pool, the take turns either pulling a gift from the pool, then opening it right away, or taking a gift already taken from the pool.

    Several times, we just wrapped up a pack of batteries from Costco, and those were among the most popular items.

  49. SM, I wouldn’t recommend anything that long. I think the bottom would get really dirty.

    The dress form factor might make sense if it’s only her legs that are getting cold, but I’m not sure how easy it would be to take off whenever she goes indoors.

  50. S & M, Do you use Instagram? The best way to experience So Yummy is through a video. So yummy posts videos of fun recipes. Some of their stuff is silly, but it is fun to watch the videos.

  51. Long coats are a pain when you have to carry them through hallways, or deal with them in a classroom.

  52. I’m the ultimate Grinch when it comes to gifts – I don’t want any and I hate to shop for other people unless I know a specific thing they’ll like. I value the thoughtfulness behind gifts, but most gifts I receive go right to the donation pile because I want someone else to enjoy them.

    My DD is the only one in our immediate family who likes gifts, but she thoughtfully gives us detailed lists every year of what she wants. She also loves to give gifts, and this year she actually hit the jackpot with my gifts. (She could not wait until Christmas because she was so excited about giving them.) She gave me a sparkling pie Christmas tree ornament because she knows I love pie. And she gave me Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Teacup book as a sort of homage to my southern roots. Of course SHE also wanted the book to try out some of the recipes. Later on I’ll get fancy lotions and soaps from her, some of which I’ll secretly empty in the sink because I cannot stand to use them.

    I have a long (mid-calf) alpaca coat that is the most expensive clothing item I own. It is toasty warm and was a godsend when I used to commute through the frigid winter months, but these days I hardly use it. (Admittedly, a long coat can be a pain when rushing up and down the stairs in train stations.)

  53. “lights for his bike. He has front and rear lights – these are for the wheels to increase his visibility to the cars on the road.”

    Have you checked out NiteIze Spokelit lights?

    BTW, IMO, you can’t have too many rear lights. I currently use 5 when I’m riding at night, and will probably add another couple. I believe there are Daiso stores near you; I’ve bought most of mine from Daiso stores in Asia for about $1 each, and they’re as good as anything I’ve seen at any bike shop, and the price makes it feasible to use a bunch.

    Reflective tape also greatly enhances nighttime visibility. I put strips of it on my helmet and my pedals. On an older bike which didn’t have aero rims, I put about ½” x ¾” pieces of tape on the rims between spokes, and the tests I ran suggested they really helped increase visibility in most directions other than directly ahead, behind, or on the side.

    Thinking about it, I could probably do something similar on my aero rims. I’d just need to be careful not to put them where the rims contact the brake pads.

  54. “Long coats are a pain when you have to carry them through hallways, or deal with them in a classroom.”

    From that perspective, wind pants are a better option. The ones DS and I have had take very little room in a backpack.

    If you get the ones with zippers the full length of the legs, you can modulate the warmth without taking them off.

  55. By wind pants, do you mean pants made out of windbreaker material? I always found that I froze in windbreakers because the chill goes right through that light synthetic material.

    I like fleece athletic pants when it is cold, or corduroys if I have to be dressier. I wear a 3/4 length coat. I don’t like jackets because then my rear is out in the cold.

  56. Thanks Lauren!

    July, why not give the lotions, etc away too? If they can’t be accepted by agencies and you’re afraid your daughter would find out if you gave them to people you know, I bet people on the streets would like them, assuming there are beggers in NYC.

    Finn, google the abbreviation at the end of my post with those dresses, “lol”, and you’ll see what I meant about them.

  57. “By wind pants, do you mean pants made out of windbreaker material?”

    Yes.

    Outdoors in the wind, I’ve found them much better than fleece or sweats because they block the wind so much better, but the combination of fleece or sweats under wind pants to be pretty warm.

    I’ve found that a thin lining makes a huge difference, especially over bare skin.

  58. Mooshi, I think he means she should put those pants on over her usual warm clothes so the wind won’t get to her as she walks across campus, take them off before class, and put them on again to walk to her next class. Standard Finn fashion sense.

  59. “where does one find blacksmithing lessons??? My daughter has been asking for that for about a year. I would love to get her a lesson or lessons.”

    Another datum that suggests that our kids would probably find a lot in common and get along well.

  60. Finn, Mooshi’s daughter is in middle school, I’m pretty sure. She’s a cool kid, but that’s still a pretty big age gap to be pals with your daughter.

  61. SM, I meant more generally that kids of totebaggers would probably get along well with kids of other totebaggers.

    But to your point, my guess is that a lot of the our kids, in the sense of kids of all the totebaggers, or at least the regular posters, would likely find enough in common with other totebagger kids more than a year or two apart in age that they would enjoy each others’ company.

  62. DH complains that I’m hard to shop for, but whenever I give him gift suggestions, he often vetoes them. For example, I’ve told him in the past that I would like a dinner out as a gift, but he responds that that’s not a “gift” (to him, a gift is something tangible that you can open on Christmas morning). The other night I told him I would love some food items from Stonewall Kitchen, since I love their stuff but wouldn’t buy it for myself. But his response was, “what would people think if they heard that I gave my wife dipping sauce for Christmas?” He’s very sentimental, which is sort of sweet, but the whole gifting conversation/negotiation gets exhausting.

  63. But his response was, “what would people think if they heard that I gave my wife dipping sauce for Christmas?

    But what sort of dipping sauce ? I am getting all naughty ideas in my head, which could be classified as a romantic gift.

  64. NoB, I asked DH to get me a new set of pots and pans. Also on the idea list is a garlic press, salad spinner, wok, and a toaster. He was not impressed, but we have a new kitchen and all our old pots are well worn and I now have space to store gadgets and less used items.

  65. Finn – thank you for the bike suggestions.

    SM – the puffer dress picture is hilarious. DD had asked for a puffy coat for Christmas. I just texted her the picture of the puffer dress asking if she would like the dress better. I’m sure she will just roll her eyes – but it made me laugh.

  66. NoB, Lemon – my suggestion would be that you find a piece of affordable jewelry you like (like with lab created stones or costume jewelry) and suggest that you’d like that in a Stonewall Kitchen gift basket or hidden in the center of a new saucepan.

  67. @Finn

    “But to your point, my guess is that a lot of the our kids, in the sense of kids of all the totebaggers, or at least the regular posters, would likely find enough in common with other totebagger kids more than a year or two apart in age that they would enjoy each others’ company.”

    I think this is true. Lots of similarities.

  68. @Lemon

    See in that situation. I would rather just buy the gadgets that I want and forgo gifts. But that is my personality. For our 10th anniversary, I went and bought an anniversary band ring (with DH’s blessing) and showed it to him later as my anniversary gift. I love that he plans things for us to do together and does nice things for me, but I don’t care much about “gifts” per se. luckily we are on the same page on this one.

  69. “I love that he plans things for us to do together and does nice things for me, but I don’t care much about “gifts” per se. luckily we are on the same page on this one.”

    That’s us. I had to “train” him on this but now he likes not “having” to get me gifts.

    We’d like to get a new phone for my 90ish yo MIL because her current one seems on the blink even though she thinks it’s working fine. She currently has a flip phone, and she says she has no need for a smartphone. But we think she would like texting and other features she doesn’t currently use. She loves her iPad (for FB, words with friends, reading, etc.) so an iPhone would seem to be an easy solution except maybe the text size on an iPhone would be too small. I’m not sure. Maybe a senior citizen phone with jumbo buttons would be better.

    Of course buying the phone is probably the easier part. Once we buy it we’d want to show her how to use it. I think recruiting my kids to help would be a good idea.

  70. I der agree that one of the things that’s great about this page is that it’s so sad to talk about our kids with people whose kids, of whatever ages, are similar to our own. My son has met and enjoyed TB kids from a year or two older than him to about 8 years younger. He remembers all of them by name, even though they were mostly years ago, and sees similarities himself. But the one kid from this group who he sighed about and said “I wish we lived nearer to each each other” was a boy his own age.

    My mom always insists on “something to unwrap”. When she heard I’m giving DS a concert ticket (that had already been purchased digitally), her immediate assumption was that I’d wrap a CD to put under the tree. I don’t know if Billie Eilish even has CDs (though now that she’s been signed by a major label, I guess she will). Would hubs feel better giving you a frame for a picture of that night, or a clothespin if Laundry is where you want to go, or a reservation card with time and date? Louise, suddenly you’re not such a grinch after all! Lemon, does he know how much that stuff costs? The price of a garlic press isn’t any more impressive than the price of a drawer front, but would list with prices & total help? (I hate this idea, btw, think figuring out gifts beforehand should not be work for the recipient). Or, along the lines of Louise’s saucy idea, tell him to finish the job, he’s leaving you unsatisfied.

  71. July, if she wanted to text, wouldn’t she do it on the iPad she already has? They make biggish I-phones, but seriously, it sounds like she’s doing really well with what she’s got. Why upset that?

  72. S&M, that’s a good point. Maybe just giving her a mini lesson on texting would be helpful. Even though she isn’t interested, I suspect she may like texting because it could be another way for her to be in touch more easily with grandkids and others.

  73. Omg—just saw the first line of my post about kids here. Arg!!!

    First off, derp, I *DO* agree
    And I’m not sure what adjective I used there, but certainly not “sad”. Maybe great, helpful, nice, good, excellent. enjoyable, amusing, delightful, lovely, pleasant, congenial, diverting;
    exciting, thrilling, excellent, marvellous, wonderful, superb, fine, splendid, tremendous, smashing, fantastic, fabulous, fab, super, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, glorious, grand, magic, out of this world, cool, brill, fleek, ripping, cracking, or swell. But certainly not “sad”.

  74. 25 years ago, I gave my then-newish husband a lovely, thick, warm bathrobe. My coworker mocked me relentlessly. Told me my marriage was clearly doomed. 25 years later, I still have that husband, and it’s definitely time for a new bathrobe. Got rid of the coworker about 23 years ago.

  75. “I love that he plans things for us to do together and does nice things for me, but I don’t care much about “gifts” per se. luckily we are on the same page on this one.”

    “That’s us. I had to “train” him on this but now he likes not “having” to get me gifts.”

    I’ve been trying to train DH along these lines for the past 18 years, but he’s very stubborn by nature…

  76. Ooh, now I’m getting Stonewall Ktichen ads on the side of the Totebag screen. Sweet chili dipping sauce, honey mustard dip… Not to mention the Wild Maine Blueberry Jam. Maybe I’ll just go buy some for myself after all.

  77. NoB, if none of the above ideas work, maybe you could reframe it as a Christmas outing for the two of you to celebrate without all the commotion of others interrupting you. And then request something you’d buy anyway, even if it isn’t just for you, like a decoration for the house.

  78. SM-DD is getting concert tickets for Christmas. I’m printing out a pic of the lead singer and putting some text over the pic about the concert. I’ll print that out and wrap it in a box so she will have something to open. It is a little different since younger DS might still “believe” so I want to have something for her to open. He’s started asking and has some chatty friends with older siblings.

  79. Nap, that’s exactly the sort of thing my mom would do! Always insists, as does NoB’s husband, that there should be something physical to unwrap at the appropriate time. I might’ve done something along those lines for my son, if he hadn’t been the one to actually order them. I hope your young’un enjoys the surprise and the show.

  80. I am all about the gifts. I love getting them and giving them. I have things that I adore that were given as gifts – and when I opened them, thought, “why on earth am I being given THIS?”. Like the electric wine opener – never would have thought I wanted one, and now I love it. I have a pale blue fleece that I would have never looked at in a store – pale blue is not a color I usually go for and I am not much of a fleece purchase. And yet, I end up wearing it all the time because it is just right. I can think of tons of other things that are similar. So give away!!

  81. SM, let me guess, you were typing on an iPhone?

    I was specifically thinking of your postings about you and your DS meeting up IRL with some other TBers, and how much all of you enjoyed that.

  82. And SM, your previous posting about that same age TB kid is why I think college could be great for your kid, especially if he chooses a school that attracts many other kids like him.

    A large school might make sense for him in the sense that there’s a higher likelihood of there being other such kids.

  83. Finn, I was so surprised when he started high school that he was so happy to be in a school with 2500 kids. I have always thought he’d be happy at college, but now we must get him last thinking that he’s not “that sort” of student. Funny how the iPhone screwed up simpler things in the earlier post, but had no trouble with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (even though the look of it is something quite atrocious ;) )

  84. Mooshi, I love figuring out the right presents to get someone, particularly when they work out like your blue jacket did. I like wrapping them too. My son rarely gives presents (other than with much prompting from me), even though as a 5-year-old he was already good at figuring out what a friend might like, even if it wasn’t his own favorite. He’s not terribly into receiving them either, would rather just get stuff when it comes up instead of waiting until “that day”. It’s interesting for me to hear Louise and July say that aren’t into it either, because that is so inconceivable for me.

  85. SM – for me it’s cultural.
    Your birthday was a bigger deal in terms of gifts. Any religious festival no matter the religion was a communal
    event with sweets and food. Gifts were not part of that equation. Religious holidays in the home country meant getting “nice” new clothes. A nice dress was cause for much angst as to whether the tailor would sew your chosen pattern correctly or make you wear his version of your dress (lots of tailors were men).
    Today, I just went to the mall with DD and got her a “nice” dress that she was happy with, so a completely different experience from mine.
    I saw Dumplin’ on Netflix yesterday, and as a former fat girl got so emotional about the movie. I could not fit into clothes growing up.
    Also, tomorrow SNOW is expected here, so today was crazy everywhere from the mall to the grocery store.

  86. Just finished wrapping a bunch of presents while the kids were out. I have done everything except the photo books for our parents (will need to do that right away this weekend) and our niece and nephew on DH’s side (their parents haven’t told me what they want).

    DH is hopeless with gifts. So now I am like my mother and I buy things for myself and make him wrap them. Sigh. I wish he would actually get me a gift one of these years!

  87. Louise, If you were chubby, I would think the tailor would at least make clothes that fit you properly, even if they did have their own minds as to style. Good point about cultural differences. Were your birthdays the celebrations of the birthday kid with sweets and presents that we are familiar with in the US? I’ve been to one birthday party for a S Asian kid. Her family was from Kashmir. I’m not sure if she was born there or in the US, but they were very connected to others from there. I showed up with probably a $20 present, which seemed to be the wrong thing. I was the only white person there. There weren’t many kids. While we were eating, uncles (“uncles”) began showing up from another city a little over an hour away. They all brought cash, at least $100 each. So that’s why the parents hadn’t looked pleased about the gift from me! The uncles also brought booze, and lit into it immediately. After a while, someone began to sing, then played two recorders at once, then sang some more and the girl began to cry (I think she was 6 or 8). I asked about the lyrics—the song was about the partition of India and (West) Bangladesh/ Pakistan. The late night, the drunken uncles, the gory singing—the little girl was having a very rough time! None of it seemed to be about her at all. Her parents and I never spoke about it afterwards. I wanted to, but couldn’t think of polite ways to phrase my questions. I didn’t have kids yet, but knew “do you think that’s good for her?” was not an appropriate thing to ask. I think your family was financially much more comfortable than hers, so your birthdays may have been different as well.

  88. I get a lot of vicarious pleasure from reading the posts of those who love to find the perfect gift and wrap it and enjoy opening it.

    My gift to self that arrived today was a low covered foam footrest. My kitchen chair, where I eat almost all meals, is a smidge too high. Finally I figured out why I don’t like to sit a table for long – my heels are off the floor if i sit back, so I curve my back to get the feet flat. Voilà!

  89. SM – my family’s tradition was to have a birthday party which included all the kids you and your family were close to. So, for my sixth birthday it was all my cousins (we were all quite close in age), my friends from school, the kids of my parents friends. There was cake, potato chips and a soft drinks. Games were pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey etc. The gifts were modest toys or books. Both girls and boys were included.
    The gifts were not opened in front of the attendees. This was so that there was no display of how much each item cost.
    After the kids birthday was over early in the evening, all the aunts, uncles would come over later and have dinner. They brought more gifs. The cousins ran around and some fell asleep. The adults would eat, drink and chat. Everyone left by around 10 pm.

  90. Okay, this is one reason I love Trader Joe’s. They are selling an amaryllis bulb in wax that needs no care, no watering, no nothing, for it to bloom. The price is $7.99! This seems like a great gift for various scenarios — hostess, brown thumbs, college students, etc. At this price you could gift a bunch to one person. While I’m a Grinch for most gifts I usually appreciate beautiful flowers or plants, especially if they require no care. These bulbs even look attractive before they bloom.

    https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/4568

  91. Louise, that sounds like a party to me! Sounds just like ours, actually, except we had fewer people over.

  92. Louise, it’s always so interesting to hear your stories. Did you ever try to sew your own clothes, or was that not done? Were the styles too complicated? I sewed a lot of my clothes in high school to save money.

  93. RMS – some in my extended family did try to sew their own clothes and undertook ambitious projects like making their wedding dresses. But majority of us did not. It took a lot of time effort and expertise to copy patterns. Also, there was sequence work and embroidery on the dresses that was best left to professionals.

  94. I LOVE gifts. Love to get them, love to give them. Lucky for me DH is an excellent gift giver. I have actually learned over the years not to ask for anything, because what he comes up with for me is always way better than what I come up with for me.

    For family, we do it together, and he definitely does his share of shopping/ordering/wrapping. In fact sometimes I need to rein him in a little because he’ll definitely go overboard, especially for the kids.

  95. July, we had a bunch of people over for Hannukah last night and someone brought that as a gift!

  96. Like I said, I love doing gifts. But, I hate wrapping them. My wrapping jobs always come out with the tape half stuck, and odd parts of the paper wrinkled or ripped. My mother and my sister always specialized in these perfectly wrapped, artistically presented gifts, so it is a bit embarassing.

  97. I found these packages of scented soaps shaped like macaroons at TJs, which I am putting in two of my kids stockings. I think they would also make nice hostess gifts

  98. Mooshi, I love wrapping presents, including making those sharp corners, but I’m moving away from new wrapping paper and paper gift bags. (I could never make the gift bags look right—ick!) I’m using alternatives like cookie tins and fabric bags, as well as some gift boxes that don’t need additional paper. For DS’s birthday this fall, I reused a colored piece of paper that had been inside the shipping box, a piece of ribbon that had come with a blanket, a folio he needed for his school things anyway, and for a decorative thing, instead of a bow, I clipped on one of those fabric shopper bags that comes all folded up inside its own tiny bag. Given the levels of creativity in your family, I’m surprised to hear you’ve stuck with wrapping paper all these years.

  99. Louise — I had barely heard of either Priyanka Chopra or Nick Jonas, but I have been obsessed with their wedding photos for the past week. Mostly because of Priyanka’s clothes. I’m not sure I have ever seen a woman look more stunning. The western wedding dress was actually my least favorite of her looks, even though it was gorgeous; the Indian clothes were just out of this world. Her reception look was my absolute favorite:

    https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a25396459/priyanka-chopra-wedding-reception-dress/

  100. Although I have to say that I think Priyanka and Nick look odd together. She is fabulously sophisticated-looking, and stunningly gorgeous, and he looks like a 14-year-old boy.

  101. NoB, I like to watch Bollywood movies set in historical periods because the outfits are so luscious.

  102. Huh? If you just plunk it in, then how do they not see what’s inside long before time to open it? Or take them out & play with them?

  103. Or take them out & play with them?

    When DH’s family got together, we came from our respective flights and popped all our presents for the kids under the tree in the formal living room. We hung out in the open kitchen/family room. After two days, my little nephews discovered the stash of gifts, opened their toys and started playing in the formal living room. When they were discovered, the gifts had to be rewrapped and they were told to stay away till the official gift opening.

  104. “We’d like to get a new phone for my 90ish yo MIL because her current one seems on the blink even though she thinks it’s working fine. She currently has a flip phone, and she says she has no need for a smartphone. But we think she would like texting and other features she doesn’t currently use.”

    Oh nononononnono — stay far, far away from this. My dad and his brothers had the same idea for my Granny. Huge crash and burn — she flat-out refused to learn the new phone and went out herself and bought another cheap flip phone. And she does text! She’d just rather do it the old way on the flip phone than learn the much easier modern way!

    Update: my gifts were rather flops, alas. I misjudged the audience — the little kids didn’t come, and more neighbors did, so the 55-yr-old hefty greying guy who got the dodgeball set was, shall we say, underwhelmed. Even the youngest kid there (10? 11?) spent her time vying for the scratch-off tickets, because she wanted cash. The real winner was anything soft and fleecey — the fake Sherpa wool slipper socks, the super-soft fake-Sherpa blanket, and the turtle fur Caps blanket were hotly contested the whole night. So now I know.

  105. 1st rant of the morning here; 1st of the week for me…

    WTF “Green Monday”? I googled it…essentially cyber-Monday redux “when people realize there’s only 2 weeks till Christmas”. All the advertising to entice me to spend my money has really bothered me this year; I am generally anti-gifting anyway; my kids/nieces/nephews do lists which is fine so at least they get stuff they want. I’m so over it.

    Yes, I’ve been feeling especially ‘bah-humbug’ about the commercial side of things this year. My not-so-well-hidden curmudgeonly side is on full display.

    (Thanks for listening)

  106. Oh nononononnono — stay far, far away from this.

    I agree. The other issue is that you will become tech support and MIL/Granny will constantly be asking you to show her how to use it over and over and over. If they are the ones wanting to upgrade, then they will likely be motivated to learn how to use it. But if you are getting it for them because you think they would like it, you could be opening a huge can of worms that’s not worth the hassle.

  107. “if you are getting it for them because you think they would like it”…not just for old folks.

    This is DW for our kids, specifically e.g. kitchen stuff, minor Holiday decorations and food items.
    DW: “He’ll use it”
    Me: (having discussed this with our guys) “only if he’s asked for it”
    “You’re such a Grinch”
    “That may be true, but based on experience if they haven’t asked for it, they’re not going to use it.
    “You take all the fun out of shopping”

  108. I think one of the reasons I like gifts so much is that I buy very little for myself. I am an under-spender on daily items (probably an overspender on big ticket items like travel!). It’s a real treat to get things that I would like to have but have a hard time pulling the trigger on. Running clothes, outdoor gear, travel gear and kitchen/cooking items are all things I have on my wish list.

  109. Fred, I agree with your wife here. If you’re going to give me a present, I don’t want you to buy something I’ve picked out and requested (unless it is much more money than I could possibly spend on that). Gifts, imo, show that you care about a person, are paying attention to them, and have put thought into making their life just a little better, whatever the price tag, whether it’s bobby pins the new color of their hair, a snow blower, or anything in between.

    Laura, oh no! Was the 55 year old who wasn’t thrilled to get them one of the people you had thought would be most into them?

    On being tech support—ita it is to be avoided. When my son asked “do my cousins have to do this much work when they come to grandma & grandpa’s”, he knew very well that they don’t. What he was really asking is “how is it possibly fair that I have to straighten out all their devices and my cousins get spoiled til they’re dripping?” I don’t have any answer for that. My sisters play it well, especially the one who was there as we installed a new printer and went off on how amazing that was, she could never do it, blah, blah, blah. Total bs. Tech support is a trap to be avoided.

  110. “Oh nononononnono — stay far, far away from this.”

    Well, I got my 85-year old dad his first smartphone when he was laid up in the hospital and I wanted a reliable way for us to keep in touch. He was feeling OK, and bored, but confined to bed waiting for a procedure so a perfect time to learn something new. He is perhaps more “techy” than most people his age, but he took to quickly and now HE is sometimes the person absorbed in his phone at a family event, rather than the young ones. He thought that he didn’t “need” a smartphone, until he got one. So it just depends on the person. We had zero luck with MIL and smartphones, but most likely the early stage dementia made it rather impossible anyhow.

  111. You all have convinced me not to buy MIL a phone that she doesn’t want. I will offer to show her texting and how to borrow books online from the library if she agrees. We usually give her money as gifts, sometimes with a small token gift. This weekend my son and a friend visited her to play euchre and bridge since she’s always been a avid card player but with limited mobility and friends dying off she rarely enjoys these days. I joined them and learned euchre, which was fun and not as hard as I thought it would be. But bridge, that’s a bridge too far for me. (haha, bad joke) Anyway, the gift of time can be a great choice.

  112. We bought MIL her first iPad about six or seven years ago. It sat unused for almost a year, but now she uses it constantly and just got her second one.

  113. @SM: No – he was one of several sets of neighbors I had never met before and whom I didn’t know were attending. I’d have brought different stuff had I realized the more staid guest list this year.

    @Scarlett: but had your dad previously said that he didn’t want one? Obviously older folks are perfectly capable of learning new devices if they want to, and would likely find things like an iPhone much easier to operate once they made the shift. But IME once they have said “not interested,” that’s it — I don’t think anyone in the world can dig in their heels faster than an old person faced with new tech they don’t want. ;-)

    Meanwhile, my mother’s shift into technological incompetence continues. This weekend, DH had to install a new thermostat for her so she can turn the heat on/off while she’s out of town — and by bedtime she had already forgotten how to use it. And then he picked out a new refurbished computer for her, since her old one had stopped working. It is a good reminder to me to keep pushing myself to learn things, especially in areas that make me uncomfortable, so I don’t end up that incapable of doing fairly simple things for myself.* Because damn.

    *Something that is very easy for me to do, given DH’s expertise in all things tech and my total lack of interest beyond “make it work.”

  114. @July: there are all sorts of ways to play bridge online!! Including with actual people if she wants! I know people who do this religiously, because either their SO isn’t interested, or they don’t have a local group, or they like to play at 2 AM, or whatever. I suspect they are subscription services, but a service like that might be a good gift if she gets comfortable with the tech side of things.

  115. “but had your dad previously said that he didn’t want one?”

    I had mentioned it a few times, pointing out all of the neat things he could do, but he didn’t really show any interest. He had never texted because texting is a pain on a basic flip phone. The hospital stay was providential in that regard. Now he can text me when he is on the way to our house.

    I had less luck with the Kindle Fire I bought him. It was largely to keep him from pilfering my Ipad on his visits, but he never remembers to bring it to my house.

  116. “Something that is very easy for me to do, given DH’s expertise in all things tech and my total lack of interest beyond “make it work.”

    Yes, this.
    I relied too much on the boys to deal with tech stuff, and when the last one departed, it was a shock. DH can handle many of these things, but is inconveniently at work or on travel when there is a tech emergency

  117. L, what generation are you asking about? I once spent over an hour on the phone with Tech Support, because Mom’s phone wasn’t receiving emails properly. We did a bunch of stuff, including deleting and reinstalling the mail app. Then, while I was on hold for a few minutes during the call, she mentioned that when she was in the dressing room at the mall, a ton of messages had downloaded. Turned out she didn’t have the right WiFi password for home, but the store password was still saved. Other times the panic has been that they can’t find an email, or they’re in the wrong order. I show them their mailboxes and how to get to them, click on the column that puts emails in the order they want them, showing them that too. A few months to a couple years later, it happens again. The printer sometimes isn’t working (we stopped even trying with our own). I can’t think of any other specific examples, but you probably got the picture.

  118. I’m curious, what are other people’s tech emergencies?

    Most recent one, the ethernet connections to the home network were all showing as limited / no internet. Turned out the ethernet switch was mysteriously unplugged from the router, so yeah, the network of all the ethernet-connected computers sans router connection was indeed limited.

  119. Our recent tech emergencies are that our main computer shuts down, the router stops working, or my Word on my laptop freezes and eats my document. And then there’s the upgrading/backing up the computer as needed, setting up/replacing the TV/DVR/etc. system, programming our thermostats, etc. — not emergencies, but I do need to know how to do them. But we also have the “older” tech emergencies that involve the furnace just not turning on or the AC not working. I have figured out the computer/router emergencies, but not the HVAC ones — DH has a series of tricks that he tries before calling the repair guy.

    Speaking of, is there such a thing as a whole-house surge protector? I have to think that a lot of our problems are from wonky wiring — not so much the feed coming into the house, but old wiring hidden in the walls that causes strange things to happen at unpredictable times. Short of ripping out all of the plaster and rewiring the whole house, is there anything that can be done to prevent surges and such that may be taking out our various devices?

    (I’m sure “surge protector” is not the right word, as generally our fuses don’t blow when these things happen. Maybe regulator? I am thinking there must be some sort of irregularity in the power supply that causes, for ex., our furnace to burn out three motherboards over the span of not-nearly-enough years).

  120. “Speaking of, is there such a thing as a whole-house surge protector?”

    I believe so. I’m waiting for my nephew the apprentice electrician to be able to install one for us.

    “I’m sure “surge protector” is not the right word, as generally our fuses don’t blow when these things happen.”

    Do you really have fuses? Newer electrical installations will include circuit breakers.

  121. There are whole house surge protectors and we invested ~$200 in one when we remodeled. We are at the edge of the local grid and power fluctuations are common. Our local appliance store says they have dozens of calls for dead motherboards after each power outage, which supports my theory that modern appliances* are vulnerable to grid fluctuations and particular motherboard designs are more susceptible than others. This is particularly problematic when the only fab in the world that makes chips for a particular appliance model is destroyed by an earthquake.

    http://techomebuilder.com/emagazine-articles-1/home-automation/5-things-to-know-about-whole-house-surge-protection

  122. BTW, even once we install a whole house surge protector, I’d continue to use individual surge protectors for individual devices that I consider vulnerable and worth the extra cost, including our garage door opener.

    Now that I think about it, I should make sure to have one for my washing machine. Having the circuitry for that damaged by a surge would be a huge inconvenience. Another device for which I should have a surge protector is the refrigerator.

  123. When I was in Hawaii I got a text from my daughter that the new washer had died after a power outage. I said that cannot be we have a whole house surge protector. she was unable to make it show a single light even after googling the procedures, so we called and scheduled an appointment under warranty. The young tech not traditional repairman arrived, waved hands over the machine and magically it starts. I said please show me what you did. he had very limited English but finally understood my request and tried to show me but really couldnt slow down his routine enough and replicate the steps. He finally said. 2 minutes wait. Push hard.

    The computer glitch I have is that safari on the latest imac upgrade in certain apps kicks out randomly of wifi. All other devices including ipad are fine. I diwnloaded chrome interface and use it when needed

  124. Mémé, I’ll bet the 2 minutes wait is to let the capacitors discharge. That’s why unplugging sometimes works when turning off and back on doesn’t.

  125. And if nothing happens 2 minutes after unplugging, wait an hour or so and try again.

    Another thing to try after unplugging is to short the hot and neutral prongs (the ones that aren’t the ground prong) together briefly.

  126. Make sure the washer is unplugged from the electrical outlet while shorting its hot and neutral prongs together.

  127. I’ve been having a weird glitch with my phone on this site, and only this site, for months. It frequently switches into “reader” mode—everything that isn’t black & white disappears, and I can’t see comments or type them. When I turn that mode off, sometimes it turns it back on again immediately and sometimes I have time to get to comments and start scrolling, which usually, but not always prevents the changeover. There have been a couple updates since this began. Anybody have a clue why this happens/how to stop it?

    On fuses/capacitors/resisters—I had actual fuses, of glass, in my East Berlin apartment in the 90s. At first I thought it was exotic and cool to replace one, but it eventually got annoying. I picked up a box of 20(?) so they were on hand and ready to pop in quickly.

  128. No he said wait 2 min after plugging in for the board to reboot. He also twirled the dials in not random sequences before pushing the button. However, the point of the story was that the whole house surge protector worked as intended, so if the machine gets balky again we assume that the electronics are fine and just fiddle until it works. The no hands faucet is quirky too, but I have the magic hands. The individual plug surge protectors are about 25 dollars each, on top of the cost of a whole house one. Not sure they are needed. The power strips with surge protection have become eco conscious with one master outlet for the TV or main computer that will turn everything else on the strip off with only one outlet always on for a lamp or 24 hr item.

  129. “The power strips with surge protection have become eco conscious with one master outlet for the TV or main computer that will turn everything else on the strip off with only one outlet always on for a lamp or 24 hr item.”

    These make it easy to disconnect your devices from the grid, e.g., during a thunderstorm, which provides far better protection than a surge protector.

Comments are closed.