Anatomy of a Christmas Gift

Just a little over two weeks ago many of us celebrated the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. Over time, this has involved exchanging gifts between family, friends, those you love. This was no different for myself. But, the one thing that I do not like is exchanging gifts. I am terrible at thinking what to get people. But, what follows is how I came up with the gift for one Jamie Yaptinchay.

Before heading home for break it was decided that we would be exchanging gifts after I got back. This way I could shop at home, with the aid of a car, and I wouldn’t have to rush my magical process of getting Jamie her gift. I liked this idea, but I still needed an idea for a gift. Maybe the extra nine days would buy me some time.

Jamie was pretty adamant on the fact that I couldn’t tell her what I was getting her or any hint realated to what I was going to get her. So, she instituted the following rule:

If you tell me what you are going to get me, you can’t get it for me.

Alright, cool. So, I said to her, “I’m getting you everything.” Yeah, that should work. Now I’m home free! Well, as I soon found out, that wasn’t going to work. Not even a chance.

Thus, the process of what to get her began. I really had no idea on what to get her. Snowmen were in this year for her, but I decided to leave that to my mother and the gifts she was going to give Jamie. I wanted to get her a little something different then all snowmen stuff. The only problem was that I had no idea on what to get her.

So, one day when walking the isles of written knowledge at the local Barnes and Noble, a book caught my eye. It was a book about US history, but through the perspective of the women that lived it. Alright, so, that looked like it could be a win. Out came the camera phone and I snapped a photo of it (this is very common for me and things I want to purchase). I did this because I needed to read some more about it on before I would make my purchase at B&N. I mean, what if the book sucks?

So, one gift idea down… how many more to go?

Also after reading some of the blogs I read I came across another book that seemed pretty interesting. It is the Mind Hacks book by O’Reilly Press. It seemed interesting enough to be a gift, so that was the 1st item that was deemed a part of the gift. This meant a trip back to the local B&N to see if they had it. It ended up that they didn’t have it, so I had to travel north to another store to go and get it, but they were nice enough to put it on hold for me. *phew*

Upon the arrival at this new B&N store, I was determined to walk out with the book on hold and the one that I was researching. I had read enough online to determine that it would be a book that she mighe like, if this is the actual case or not, I don’t know. So, after leaving the B&N store I had 2 books.

Alright, her gift at this point is two books. Um, not enough to give her. So, I press on…

It just so happened that there was a Target just down the way. So, in the sub-zero Minnesota weather my mother and I walked to Target. It was here that I began to see a bunch of things as gifts. This was a good thing because I was having a hard time figuring out what I was going to get her. But, I was really looking for only one more thing. What that thing was, I didn’t know yet. After walking around a little bit, I soon found out.

On our way back up to the font of the store we walked past the rows where the picture frames are kept. I poked my head in to see what they had. Luckily, I found one that I liked and I purchased it. Also, right around there I found this small little snowman frame as well. This was good since it was on the theme for Jamie’s Christmas: Snowmen.

After returning home I needed to figure out how to populate this collage frame. Did just say populate? I mean, add pictures. I needed eight pictures for it to work. So, off to iPhoto I went looking for pictures. I grabbed any picture that I thought might look good in the frame. After I got 15 or so pictures selected it was off to getting them in place on the frame. But, I didn’t want to print them if I didn’t know that it would work. This spawned my next idea… Photoshop.

Christmas Gift Frame OnlyYes, the uber nerd factor goes into full force here. I decided that I wanted to preview it before I actually made it. My thinking was that this would save me time putting it together and then I would know exactly what pictures to take and get printed on photo paper. So, I opened Photoshop and made a 1-to-1 scale version of the gift that I would give her. I added all of the borders and everything which left me with what you see to the left.

Christmas Gift Pics OnlyAfter I got this completed I figured that I should add the images. So, I messed around with what images to add and I just fit them where I thought they would look the best. It took some time to get them to fit because I had to resize all of the images to 4″x6″ to make sure that when I printed them out that they would fit into the frame how I wanted them to. It actually took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I was figuring that this would be saving me time when I actually put it together.

After I got the pictures printed, cut, and put into the frame the outcome was pretty similar to what I had mocked up earlier in Photoshop. It turned out pretty nice and I was happy with how it all worked out and looked. If you click here you can see the final product of my geeky gift labor.

Well, there you have it. That is pretty much the way that the gift was made this was Christmas for Jamie. It was a bigger success than I had imagined, but I can’t always get so lucky. My next task is how to manage both Valentines and her birthday since they are so close together. I think I need to create a new holiday called “Valenbirth” just so that I don’t die trying to get her gifts. But, but all Valentines day takes is flowers, right? So, maybe I don’t need to.