My partner’s grandfather, Herschel, has a tradition of giving everyone a birthday gift of the number of dollars that matches her age, so he gave me $41 last month. I used it to order 8 pairs of socks from Maggie’s Organics.
What a boring gift! It brings to mind the 1980s “Saturday Night Live” skit in which Hanukkah Harry, the Jewish counterpart of Santa Claus, brings a good little child a big box of…socks. Why didn’t I spend this money on something luxurious and fun?!
Well, the thing is, my frugal lifestyle leaves me plenty of money for those times when I do really want to splurge. Where I tend to get hung up is on the idea that I always have to make everything last as long as possible and then replace it at the lowest possible price. Sometimes I take this too far and actually harm myself by continuing to use something that’s really inadequate. I try to be alert to this tendency and force myself to allow myself to have the things I truly need but might be assuming I don’t deserve. (This self business gets complicated, doesn’t it?)
My daughter was born shortly before my birthday. Her grandmother (Herschel’s daughter) came to visit and help us out. After doing some laundry, she commented that a lot of my socks had holes in them or were on the verge of wearing through. Well, I knew that, but they were still good….
Meanwhile, I was walking around without my compression stockings for the first time in eight months, wearing my socks directly on my feet instead of over the stockings, and I was noticing that the bottoms of my feet had this unpleasant rubbed-too-hard feeling….
There are socks less expensive than Maggie’s Organics. But they just aren’t as good. Maggie’s are organic, they are made in USA, they are more comfortable than most other socks I have worn, and they turn out to be a good bargain because each pair gives me 3-5 years of frequent wear. (I wash all my laundry in cold water and line-dry; this helps things last longer.)
So I invested my birthday money in 8 pairs of beautiful, high-quality organic socks in my favorite colors.Now I can walk in comfort as I carry my baby on her daily adventures! And every time I put on a pair of my nice new socks, I will remember that Herschel gave them to me. Over the years I’ve found that practical gifts that I use regularly make me think fondly of the gift-giver (even if the actual gift was money and I chose what to buy with it) much moreso than a gift like a restaurant meal or a massage or some other one-time experience.