We have friends who live in New Zealand who are very dear to us. I met them while I was living in Tanzania in the late 90s and they’ve remained a big part of my life ever since. In 2005, we went to visit them after the wife was diagnosed with cancer – the only vacation we’ve ever financed, although it was on a zero percent interest credit card until we paid it off.
Anyway, I had been pondering Christmas present ideas. I hate sending fragile stuff overseas, because I’m afraid it won’t make it in one piece. And the baked goods that I make for so many of my local friends probably wouldn’t be in such good shape after a ten day trip either.
But last week I was perusing our library book store and came across a book called Africa Solo, about a man’s solo hitchhiking trip across Africa. Perfect. It was brand new, the spine had never been cracked open, and it looks like a great book (I have it on hold for myself now at the library). I bought it for 75 cents.
Then today, I made ten note cards using photos I had taken in the mountains near our home. The scenery is totally different from what they have in New Zealand, and the pictures are really beautiful. I had them printed with artsy “canvas” borders, which look great against the cardstock that I layered them on. I was thrilled with how they turned out.
I packed everything up in a padded mailer that I had saved when someone used it to cushion stuff inside a box they sent us. So that was free. All told, the book cost me 75 cents, the cards were $1.20 for the prints plus a couple dollars for cardstock and blank notecards (which I keep on hand anyway), and about an hour of my time. And the mailer was free. It will probably cost about $8 to mail it all to New Zealand. I really like what I came up with for them. The book is reminiscent of the times we spent together in Africa, and the cards show them a bit of our life here in the US (he’s never been to the US, she was here for visits a few times in the 80s, but neither of them have ever been to the mountains where we live). I feel great about their Christmas present, and all told, it’ll end up costing about $10. Sometimes you get more than you pay for.