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Now that Thanksgiving is another fond memory of turkey, laughter, broken ovens and unusual uses for plumbers’ torches, I am turning my attention to preparing for Christmas.

I don’t spend a lot on gifts, but I do like to put thought into them. Accumulating a lot of possessions is not important among my circle of friends, and if you quietly observe you can see what people appreciate here.

Every year I make a vow to keep my eyes open all the time in case that perfect gift lands in my lap. Other times I find something that’s perfect for multiple people and have to decide who gets it.

Christmas Gifts

In August I ran across “160 Acres,” an old album signed by the Sons of the Pioneers. I can think of several musicians in town who would carry my bags through a Black Friday crowd, shovel my driveway all winter and string my holiday lights for that piece of vinyl.

Christmas Gifts 1

One year I found an original poster that Union Pacific had created to promote visitation to Yellowstone. It showed various bear “tourists” strolling around Old Faithful, eating picnics and enjoying idyllic scenes of the park. It was perfect for a certain cowboy/Buffalo Bill look-alike in town who collected such memorabilia. How was I to know that he had a new girlfriend who gave him a fake of the same scene?

Christmas Gifts 2

I did do well, on the other hand, the year when I walked into an antique store in Powell and found a cast iron frying pan. This was a Griswold #8 with the large logo, slanted letters and heat ring. I gave it to a certain tour guide in town who was so shocked and pleased and happy that he looked like he had been hit on the head with, well, a Griswold #8 frying pan.

Sometimes I manage to score something that’s perfect, but I invariably go most of the year without even thinking about Christmas shopping.

Christmas Gifts 3

I truly believe that the best gifts do not cost a lot. This year I decided to take several of my favorite spice blends, recreate them and package them along with a booklet describing different dishes they are best used for. I make a terrific chili blend as well as a lemon pepper seasoning that can be used on most any dish. Some blends are appropriate for meat grilled over an open flame, fried in a Griswold cast iron pan or baked in an oven (if it’s working).

Christmas Gifts 4

Please don’t tell anyone what I am up to. I hope it will be a surprise.

And if anyone else in town is planning on doing the same thing, would you ask them to wait until next year? I don’t want to cause any more relationship problems.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life and looking forward to spicing it up.