THE ART OF GIVING
by Francine Black
(Gracewing, 1990, 274pp, $11.95. Available from AD Books)
This is a charming book which delights in the beautiful art of giving. Francine Black offers suggestions about what we might give as gifts for Christmas, Easter, going away, wedding anniversaries by year, for hostesses, invalids, sick children, people who have everything, children by age.
She presents ideas about what gifts might you choose, what is appropriate for the occasion and degree of intimacy, what to consider if you have limited money.
What is so appealing about this book is that it helps one to rediscover not only the joy of giving, but also of thoughtfully choosing for specific persons, and of using one's own creative talents to make gifts for people. This is especially appealing at a time when it is promoted that the only presents worth giving are those that can be bought and are expensive.
The author presents many ideas which mothers could teach children, and which children could make in school holidays such as bookmarks, cards, paper dolls and play dough. She also details how to make simple but pleasurable gifts such as: home- made toys and Japanese gardens for children, using flowers for pot purri and other arrangements, making jams and marinades, potted herbs, confections, liqueurs, sewn, knitted and embroidered things.
And not only does Black discuss material gifts, but also specific acts of love and service which we may do for people to show care and love - walking their dog, minding their children, writing a poem, helping elderly people. She also discusses different ways we might present gifts - outlining many creative ideas.
In a day and age that is fast-paced, leaving little time for creativity, this book is a refreshing reminder of the joy of thoughtful giving, being creative and of doing things for others. The ideas presented are simple, charming, old-world, and ideal for people living on a range of budgets.
Dr Kerrie Allen is Research Officer for the Australian Family Association.