All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm so glad that I just got my pay, I was born on Christmas Day

The dry weather and mild temperatures (and crazy work schedules--I have an installation for Ye Olde Dayjobbe over the holidays!) has made me kind of forget that Christmas is coming in less than a week.

How are the rest of you doing?

I tried to do some shopping during my lunch break today and had an epic fail. I was shocked (well, not really) that there were crowds out at 12:30pm on a Monday afternoon in downtown San Francisco. Anyhow, I thought of some last minute gift ideas:

1. Apartment Therapy showcased some great gifts under $100 last month and you can still get some of these. (They also followed up with some great design gifts for under $100.) My favorite is probably the emergency radio--I have a small wind-up model from LL Bean that is great for emergencies. I keep it in one of my bags all the time.

2. This year I told my brother how much more important it was to give experiences rather than things. So when he asked me what I wanted this past weekend, I told him to buy me dinner. And he did. Problem solved! So give an experience--a massage, a manicure, a dinner, a concert. Share in the experience and make it a gift for both of you.

3. Ever since I took a 60% pay cut from my last career to become an interior designer, I haven't been able to donate to as many charities as I used to. Charity now starts at home, with "Jason's IRA" and "Jason's Roth IRA". So even though I was able to donate our old car to charity, and I dropped off my trusty camel coat at a local bar during a coat drive, I still wish I could do more. Why not donate to a charity in someone else's name? I think that's a wonderful gift and wish people would do that more.

4. Make something! You could give me some Nestle Toll House cookies that you slapped onto a baking sheet for 10 minutes and I'd be one happy camper. Don't underestimate the power of a (mostly) homemade gift or treat.

5. Finally, if you're stumped on a gift for a loved one, think like a computer (or at least like some Google algorithm). Make a list of the last few gifts you've given him/her and take an average. Maybe you've given him four massages, two fitness magazine subscriptions, and three pairs of running shoes over the years. Average it out and try to put a new spin on it, like getting him a reflexology session, or a personal training session instead. Try applying this formula to other facets of their life, whether they're into books, cosmetics, food, or wine.

I hope everyone out there has a good holiday. I can't wait to see some good friends, hang out poolside, and deliver a few gifts. I'm looking forward to doing something a little different this year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Is it just me, or does it not feel like the holidays have come yet? Construction at my house has set things back, and now we're mid-December and there's still no tree, stockings, or other decorations up yet :(

We're also going to visit friends at the end of the month, so we were debating whether to put up our fake silver tree this year anyhow. The contractor working on our place was super nice and gave us a little mini living tree. I have some tiny ornaments that will fit just fine, so I think we're going to do the mini tree this year (with our stockings--maybe) on the newly reconstructed fireplace mantel.

Whether you're feeling the spirit or not, how about creating a great playlist for the holidays? If nothing else, it's nice to play during dinner or a party. Here are some of my faves: