The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 29, 2013

Best gifts are enduring, thoughtful

Christmas is over. Sadly, millions of people are looking at certain gifts and silently wondering, “Why did she get me THAT? Did he really think I’d like THAT? What am I going to do with THAT?”

Which explains the popularity of gift cards.

To me, gift cards are OK, but rather boring, sterile and impersonal. A “real” gift is warm, human and intimate; it embodies thoughtfulness, shopping prowess and a clear understanding of the recipient’s tastes, likes and personality.

To me, a perfect Christmas gift is enduring, and something that I will use a lot. Several wonderful “favorite things” come to mind:

-- Russell Hobbs K2 electric tea kettle. The English know tea accessories. In 1960, England’s Russell Hobbs Company introduced the K2, a steel electric kettle that shut itself off when the water started to boil. It was a tremendous hit, despite the high cost — 7 British pounds at time when the average working man made 14 quid a week. The K2 was retired in 1980. Mine is a faithful friend that I use every morning, all year long.

-- Belknap “Blue Grass” claw hammer. The Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing Company was in downtown Louisville, Ky., for more than 125 years. Its celebrated “Blue Grass” hammers were prized by carpenters for their perfect balance, beautiful finish, faceted hickory handles and beveled claws that allow you to pull the smallest, thinnest brads. Belknap went out of business in 1985, but its claw hammers — in the opinion of many — have never been bettered. I love my 16-ounce model.

-- Boy Scout knife. Pocketknives come in countless forms, but the good old Boy Scout model is hard to beat. I carry one and use it daily to cut, scrape, pry, turn, open and tighten things. Mine has two cutting blades, a screwdriver/bottle opener combination blade and a screwdriver/can-opener combo blade. When somebody needs a knife or a screwdriver and doesn’t know what to do, it’s fun to come to the rescue like a knight of old.

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