Gifts for Minor Holidays

Mother’s Day got me to thinking about inexpensive little gifts you can get for your mother on that specific holiday and even the things you could pick up for your dad on Father’s Day, another holiday that comes not long after Mother’s Day. While these two holidays don’t necessarily mean you must get something for your parents, it’s one of those things that shows you were thinking about them and went out of your way to pick up a gift for them.

Sometimes it can be hard to hone in on a specific item that you think your mom or dad has been needing for awhile, something that’s very particular to their tastes and hobbies. These are the gifts that, in my opinion, are better off left to bigger holidays and birthdays.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, however, are two days where you can afford to pick up a more generic, unintentional gift just to show you care.

So, check out a few of our quick, easy ideas for these two holidays to let your parents know you’re thinking about them but didn’t break the bank for them (because that’s the last thing they want from their kids).

Candy.

If anything, a few candy boxes is a way to tell your parents that it’s alright to have a little extra sugar since they deserve a break from the everyday grind. The best part is that you can pick up their favorite candy boxes in just about any store that sells packaged goods. They’re cheap, easy to get, and you usually should have an idea what candies your parents would be fine with eating.

Sandals/hats.

I always find that these items go perfectly with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, simply because these two holidays pretty much kick off the great summer weather everyone has been waiting for. And even better, you can’t really screw up a pair of sandals or a ball cap so long as you’re in the general ballpark of your parents’ feet size and head size (but hats aren’t as much a problem with snapbacks being one size fits all).

Gift cards.

Last but not least, a gift card or two allows your parents to go out on a date together when they can afford the time. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money.

Just try to think of what a typical meal would cost for two at whatever restaurant you happened to get them a gift card for. So long as it mostly covers the bill, it’s a great way to tell your parents to get out of the house and spend an evening together.

Memorial Day

Early summer marks a time of the year when some important holidays fall on the calendar. While most of us may start to think of Memorial Day when I say this, I’m talking about two equivalent holidays that are some of the most celebrated throughout the summer only behind Memorial Day and the 4th of July: those days would be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

As a kid, I never quite understood why moms and dads everywhere got their own specific holiday to have celebrated for them, yet there was nothing along the lines of son’s day or daughter’s day. Or just a children’s day in general. I always, always thought it was unfair that my parents had dedicated days for them on top of their birthdays.

That’s because I was naive and never really noticed how geared towards kids Halloween, Christma, and Easter are. I was a selfish little kid for thinking my parents didn’t deserve their own holiday.

As I grew older, I started realizing what the days meant for them, and for our family in general, it almost always meant spending the day doing whatever my mom or dad wanted and eating the food they loved most. Sometimes we’d buy them some little gifts, but for the most part it was more about being there for them and spending time with them (as that’s one of the best gifts a parent can think of from their children).

Now that I’m older and live alone in a different state from my parents, though, it won’t be as easy to make it home twice within a month’s span to celebrate both holidays with my parents. So things have become a little more challenging, especially when my partner’s parents live in the same city as us, so we’ll probably be spending time with them at their place.

Luckily, though, my parents don’t care too much about it and realize that we all have our limitations as adults now with separate lives. That’s why I’m planning on getting a few things for my mom and dad, wrapping it all up in a few cardboard boxes, and having them shipped to their home as gifts for their respective days. I don’t think there’s anything my parents would mind about some gifts in cardboard boxes, so I’m all about doing something as a gesture to show them I still care and I just can’t be there.

No matter what happens, though, I’ve learned to see the holidays for what they are. Parents put up with so much stuff throughout the year that they deserve to have at least a single day each year where everyone else tends to them. (And I say this in full confidence knowing I’ll enjoy the heck out of my Father’s Days in the future when I have kids.)

What to Do with Your Collection of Cardboard Over Time

Over the past 10 months, I’ve accumulated quite the collection of large cardboard boxes. The funny thing is, I thought we had all the furniture and other amenities we needed upon moving in.

Yet here we are with multiple large boxes from random things as time has gone on. It just goes to show how you never really realize how much you add to your home on a yearly basis. Things just sort of add up over time and you never actually think you’re adding much to your place.

TV.

We had to have a new television for the basement (i.e., our hang out spot) when we moved in. While I opted to get a cheaper and smaller TV since it wouldn’t be our primary one, the box it came in actually has taken up quite a bit of space the past half year. While I’ve been keeping it behind our couch, I finally pulled it out recently to recycle it. It felt good to get that out of the basement!

Dartboard.

Ahhh, the true entertainment of the basement. We enjoy playing darts, especially steel tip. Well, we mounted a dartboard and cabinet in our basement after receiving it as a Christmas gift. Guess where its box ended up? Yep, right there in the basement alongside the other TV box that we had neglected to recycle. Just as we made sure to recycle our TV box, though, we did the same with the dartboard’s housing box.

Fire pit.

Well, it’s not an actual fire pit that we built from scratch (otherwise it wouldn’t have its own box). For Easter we just received a nice little porch fire pit with its own basin and dome cage on top of it. It’ll be the perfect addition to summer evenings with friends and family. It’s quite a large box itself, and since we haven’t been able to get it out to assemble it yet, the box itself likely will hang around our place for another month or so before I decide to get it along to the recycling center.

Ultimately, we’ve come into possession of quite a bit of cardboard boxes since we moved in last June. I’m just glad we’ve done our part in recycling all the material over time (even if it’s been sitting around in our place, making a mess all the while waiting to be recycled). Heck, we even used one of the cardboard boxes as our cardboard recycling container. O the irony.

Music as a Lifestyle

Ever since I moved into my new apartment in the city, music has become a larger part of my life in ways I never would have expected. I now have access to so much more live music without ever having to drive long distances, and even when I do have to drive to another city, I welcome it so much more since it’s something different than seeing live shows in my home city.

Music isn’t just a hobby of mine. That’s what I think sets it apart from some of my other interests. I don’t ever refer to music as a hobby since it’s so much bigger than that. It’s more of a lifestyle, a way of being, in my eyes. And I don’t try to make it sound like I’m some sort of music snob, because I don’t look at my preferred music as the best or as someone else’s as uncouth. I just make music such a big part of my life. I try to listen to something new each and every day and to even explore a new album in its entirety every two weeks or so.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m pretty big on collecting vinyl records of only my favorite albums in their full glory. I enjoy sitting down and really getting into a full album, not just putting it on for ambient music or for just a few tracks. To me, collecting vinyls is so much more than that.

I’m quite lucky to have come into possession of a classic record player, thanks to my girlfriend’s dad. He had the entire audio setup and even came with a few cardboard boxes full of old vinyls from the 70s and 80s. So, getting us started on collecting those was all it took for us to go out and grab more of our own favorites.

I’ll be honest, it was exciting to dig through those cardboard boxes in hopes of finding a few classic gems that we love. While we didn’t keep everything, it gave us enough to start off with around 30 or 40 albums. Since then, we’ve added at least 10, and I figure we’ll add about 10 more each and every year at that clip.

Vinyls have fortified my love for music and I don’t foresee my interest and lifestyle changing anytime soon, because the more I discover and enjoy, the more I find myself craving more and more.

Finding Your Home’s Style

I never really knew what it took to reinvigorate a home until I finally moved in with my girlfriend this past year. Before, I was aware that my parents’ house was nicely decorated and “put together”, but I probably couldn’t have told you why.

Now that I’m on my own and we buy our own furniture and decorations, though, I’m starting to realize what it takes to do it all and really put a place together thematically. And let me tell you, it’s really not as easy as it would seem at first. Even deciding on a theme can take awhile to do, and other times, the theme doesn’t really present itself until you’ve already got mostly everything together. It’s a lot tougher than imagining in your mind that you want a rustic living room and that’s that. What makes it rustic? What would be too much rustic and what’s too little? Obviously, putting something like cardboard boxes in a specific room as art (it happens!) may  not fit a rustic theme, but if you’re going for a more industrial look to a room, having cardboard boxes stacked strategically really could work.

Overall, it’s trial and error. I’ll share a few of my style tips below.

Succulents.

I’m a huge fan of live plants in the house. It makes the air more refreshing, oxygenated, and a little more humid to help combat that dry skin during the winter. Succulents, in my opinion, are the most gorgeous indoor plants you could take care of while also being some of the hardiest around. While one species to the next will differ in how you take care of it, succulents are pretty self-reliant for the most part.

Open space and minimal decor.

One problem people run into when they’re trying to bring a theme together in a room is cramming too many things into a small area. If the room is big, it may require bigger pieces of furniture and decor. If it’s smaller, it’ll require smaller things. No matter the size of the room, though, you don’t ever need to cram too many things in at once. While I will admit that part of our place is still open or barren compared to others and could use some decor, I’d rather have that for the time being than too much stuff.

Liquor bottle display.

This one is dependent on your home, the type of liquor you drink, and where you place it, so be careful about putting too much on display in an ill-fitting spot. I just recently got into finer tequilas and mezcals in the past month or two, and I wanted a way to show them off as decoration rather than having a liquor cabinet specifically to dive into for drinks. Our home entertainment system has a lot of shelves and other similar decor, so I figured putting the tequila bottles next to one another on top of the home entertainment system’s bridge would show off my collection well. I wasn’t disappointed in my choice to move them there and they really don’t seem out of place whatsoever.

All I’ll suggest is shying away from cheaper liquors, as no one really cares to see your bottle of Captain Morgan or Jose Cuervo on display above your TV.