This year, I have started early on the ol’ Christmas shopping. Usually, while I’m not the last person finished, I definitely have a couple that I have to scramble for. Either I forget someone who got something for me or I realized I didn’t get enough for someone or whatever. But this year, things are different.
First of all, after many years of badgering everyone in my family finally turned in a useful list. If you have a family, and I imagine you do, sorry orphans, you know what a complete pain in the ass shopping for family members can be. Now that I don’t live with any of them anymore, I don’t know what their day-to-day needs are, what they’ve decided they like and hate this year or what size they wear nowadays. Typically, a list from my sister looks like this:
1. new clothes
3. pretty stuff for whatever
But so this year for some reason everyone sucked it up and provided a list that contains actual items that can be purchased. Thanks, family. Secondly, and this is sort of sad, I admit, Frank and I decided to buy something together for both of us (preferably after the holiday madness is over) because we’re both trying to do that money saving thing. Plus it’s way easier. I figure not having to worry about finding something Frank would like that I can actually afford that no one in his family will get him is, in many ways, present enough.
But so the last way I’m beating the clock on this present thing is that I’m making a bunch of things this year. I know this is going to come off sounding fantastically lame and grandma-ish which, you know, fair enough. You are free to judge. But I got all excited when I found a recipe for making your own vermouth. Shortly afterward I found a recipe for bitters and a method for making vanilla extract, and got geekily excited about the whole thing.
I ordered an assload of herbs off the internet, and a bunch of glass bottles also off the internet, and got going steeping/infusing/boiling. Me and some friends from work tested my first batch of vermouth last week, and it was really pretty delicious. So I’m making all these bottles of homemade stuff to give to people who I might otherwise not get stuff for, and also as supplementary gifts to people I would typically give things to. That way I can buy them cheaper things. (This budget stuff is not so easy with all of the buy and giving away, I’m afraid.)
I also got an idea for a bunch of weird flavored truffles, so I bought some cool red candy boxes (thanks again, internet) and I’m going to give truffles away too.
Now, I’m fully aware of how gross it is to stop by a friend that I know didn’t get me anything’s house/cubicle and be all like “Hey there pal, I made you some vermouth and truffles, but jeepers I don’t expect anything in return!” It’s kind of awkward, even though clearly I don’t expect anything and am just excited about the possibility of making bitters, and also it reeks of sort of sad, bored homemaker-ness. I’m hoping that excitement of getting an unexpected present will outweigh the annoyance.
I swear I’m not one of those cloying, fake-chipper, competitive Martha Stewart chicks. I just got really excited about how much stuff you can make yourself, if you want to. I mean, seriously, you can make almost anything. Maybe that’s obvious, but somehow it never occurred to me to try. I even found a recipe for making non-gross-atomic-red maraschino cherries. It’s pretty cool!
And people like to get presents, I think. Especially booze-related presents. Anyway, so that’s my weird little project for the moment. Does having an increasing number of weird nerdy projects mean I’m getting old? Probably. I just hope it doesn’t make me a jerk.