It’s crunch time for holiday shopping and I’m always stumped on what to get for my parents. You know what I mean? It’s always like…
“A-ya, don’t spend too much money!”
“Save your money We don’t need anything!”
Ya. Okay. They are the hardest people to buy for during the holidays. Plus there are all the superstitions that come with gift giving. No knives. No mirrors. You shouldn’t get things like towels or new bed sheets – does it imply that you think they are not clean enough? I guess it depends on how superstitious your parents are or if items you purchase have some sort of symbolic meaning.
It’s much easier with my caucasian in-laws who have taught me that it’s just as important to receive a gift graciously as it is to give with thought…and a gift receipt.
Money is the easy way out. Everyone can use a little extra cash. But what else can we do?
Here are some ideas!
Strauss Water System: my parents start the day with a cup of boiled water each and every day. They will drink hot tea all day long. Strauss Water System is an ideal way to provide clean, filtered water any time of the day without the hassle of waiting for the kettle to boil or keeping cases of bottled water taking up valuable fridge space let alone the environmental benefits. What I love about this system is that you can customize the temperature to your liking. Hot or cold and it removes the impurities of tap water so you have access to all the goodness of a better tasting water without the worry. Strauss delivers and sets up the system in the home and offers maintenance service so you don’t have to worry. It also comes in a several colours to compliment the kitchen themes.
David’s Tea: we are familiar with David’s Tea for their wide selection of loose leaf tea leaves. You have the fun named tea like the seasonal “Santa’s Secret” or “Egg Nog” and they have selections in green, black, and white teas. I’ve been enjoying their higher grade tea leaves like “Oolong Supreme” that is a bit pricier than their average tea as it’s a very rare to get tea. The tea comes form one of the most famous holy places in China, Mount Wudang, known for its ancestral temples. My parents have tried this at our house and have commented on the fresher and crisper taste. Also, you’ll want to check out their rare offering of “Jasmine Black Pearls” – hand rolled tea leaves that open up when steeping to unveil a rich floral scent. There are several rare teas on their shelves that are worth investing in.
Mirvish Theatre Tickets: my parents usually aren’t ones who will purchase theatre tickets for themselves but they love seeing shows! There are a few shows coming up that will sure to be hits with the parents including the current show Jersey Boys as my mom was a teenager when Frankie Valli made it big. Titanic The Musical is one that will be a good choice as everyone is familiar with the story line.
Chinese New Year Celebration Concert at Roy Thompson Hall: As soon as Christmas is over we’ll start shifting our attention to Chinese New Year. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the Year of the Sheep with superstar pianist Lang Lang on February 21st. Conductor Long Yu returns to conduct traditional Chinese and Western orchestral music.
iTunes and iPods: you can also surprise your parents by downloading traditional songs onto a new iPod touch, iPod nano or iPod shuffle so they can enjoy anytime. What to download? There are songs that I can recall my father playing when I was younger. For those of chinese heritage, The Butterfly Lovers may sound familiar to you — it’s one tune that brings me back to that happy place and has been performed by many chinese artists. Here are a few suggestions of traditional Chinese music worth checking out.
- Splendid Jubilant New Year: The Collection of Chinese Festival Music is performed by The Chinese Orchestra of Shanghai Conservatory
- Chinese Traditional Erhu Music by Lei Qiang Volumes 1 and 2
- Masterpieces by Erhu Masters
- Emerging Lotus – Chinese Traditonal Guzheng Music by Liu Fang