Cheap, Practical — and Sort of Odd — Gift Giving

Last Christmas, because everybody was in financially challenging situations, we agreed to  go cheap on gifts — for everyone, that is, but the Toddler, who simultaneously performs the function of daughter/granddaughter/niece, depending upon who is talking about her.

One small child who fulfills many positions in all of our lives. Bold Innocence print by Steve Henderson

One small child who fulfills many positions in all of our lives. Bold Innocence print by Steve Henderson

As grandparents, we splurged on the complete Beatrix Potter book collection from Cost-co. Her mother bought her the requisite pink princess sheet set. Her aunt presented her with a tiny tea cup and saucer.

Her uncle? Well, our 18-year-old Son and Heir who is truly besotted with his niece decided that there was nothing more she could possibly want than a tomato plant.

“You’re kidding.” We all stared him down.

“She loves the garden,” he exclaimed. “She’ll have fun seeing it grow and blossom, and every week when she visits it will be bigger and better!”

“Yeah. Right.”

What made it worse is that the kid hadn’t started the project yet, which is not unusual when it comes to gift planning; more than one of us has received pieces of paper with pictures of what we will shortly be receiving, once it’s ordered. Three days from Christmas — generally not the top time to purchase potting soil or plant containers — found him in the garden, slicing out frozen soil. Two hours later, the tomato seed was planted and the black plastic pot that he’d rustled up from the back of the barn was “wrapped” — lime green plastic and some random ribbon.

While the garden is a beautiful place, this is not what it looks like in the middle of December. Promenade, original and print by Steve Henderson

While the garden is a beautiful place, this is not what it looks like in the middle of December. Promenade, original and print by Steve Henderson

Christmas Day, he insisted upon his gift being the last presented, and the reaction was pretty much what the rest of us had predicted:

“Look, Toddler Niece,” he brought the contraption to her. “It’s your present.”

She stared at the pot, stared at him, and said nothing. For a Toddler she’s a remarkably well behaved child, and she really does adore her uncle.

“It’s a tomato plant!” For some reason, he felt that the gift needed further explanation.

“Oh. Thank you, Uncle.”

Some day I’m going to knit that kid an ugly sweater, safe in the knowledge that she will act grateful for it.

Nearly three months have passed since that day, and I find myself doing something I engage in more and more as I grow older and wiser: I admit that I was wrong. The joke is on us. The tomato plant actually grew — two of them — and they are 16 inches high. One of them is blossoming.

And, true to the Son and Heir’s prediction, the first thing the Toddler asks when she enters the door each week is to see the tomato plant — Her tomato plant — the gift that grows and changes daily, and eventually will provide her with her own personal tomato stash, and this kid loves tomatoes.

Cadence by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art

It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy listening to Peter Rabbit, or drinking tea from her little, little cup, or dreaming sweet dreams in satin princess comfort — she loves all of her gifts, including the one that we all declared abominably strange.

And it shouldn’t be so strange, really, given that we devoted our parenting and homeschooling experience to teaching our kids to be individual, to think for themselves, to walk the narrow path and not worry about what other people will say.

I just never thought that we would be the establishment voice we encouraged them to overcome and ignore.

This post was originally published on

So, the next time you give a gift and want to be different, consider fine art, which most people think is out of their reach. It isn’t, if you purchase from Steve Henderson Fine Art — you can get a poster for $10.95, with or without the saying. We’ve got gorgeous signed, limited edition prints that imbue all the color and emotion of the original, and we’ve got the most reasonably priced original paintings — considering the quality and skill of the artist who creates them — that you’ll find on the market.

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, children, Christmas, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Economy, Encouragement, Family, frugal living, gardening, Green, Growth, home, homeschooling, Humor, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, Motherhood, News, Parenting, Personal, Relationships, shopping, success, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Cheap, Practical — and Sort of Odd — Gift Giving

  1. Bold Innocence is a beautiful painting! Great execution, composition, colors and a good story to go with it.

    • Thank you, Dan. I had the privelege of having the original hang in our home briefly before it was sold, and it is indeed a beautiful piece. As with any of Steve’s works, I am glad to see them go to a good home, but sad to see them leave mine!

      Although Bold Innocence is sold, we sell signed limited edition prints of it through the Steve Henderson Fine Art Website, andit is also available as a poster there.

  2. What a wonderful story. Found you through VGN so thought I’d check out your blog. How great is it that she ended up really loving the tomato plant gift!

    • Thank you, Meghan — the plant grows and grows, and right now it is 20 feet away from me, basking in the window. Small Person knows, and is proud, that it is hers!

      I’m glad you found me through VGN, but wonder why you weren’t routed to my site. Did I misdirect? I am new to VGN and it’s quite the learning curve.

      I hope that you re-visit and join me in more adventures of tomato plants and too many farm cats. I’m not supposed to know, but the Son and Heir bought me a plum tree for my birthday (I mean, I was right there when he bought it, and I loaned him the money since he didn’t have enough in his wallet, and the tree is planted months before the big day) — and I enjoy walking out to it and looking at the different branches grafted on to the root stock. What a miraculous world we live in!

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