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Imagine my delight when I found out in a private message via Facebook that my favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends were coming to Alberta, Canada for a visit!

I was beside myself with joy, eagerly anticipating their visit.

They arrived last Thursday and are staying with friends in Olds, about an hour’s drive away.

My favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends; George and Annie, contacted me on Sunday to let me know they were coming to Calgary on Monday.

Maybe I should explain why I call them my favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends before going on.

I’ve known George for 24 years. He met Annie who was born in Uganda, moved to Scotland with her family in her teens, went to school in England, then moved to Israel where she was working as a nurse, when he visited some years back. That’s where they met and they just clicked.

Are you still with me?

I met Annie when she visited Canada and her and George worked at Mountain Aire Lodge together just outside Sundre. George and Annie were married in Scotland and that’s where they currently live, close to Annie’s family.

Anyway, I was beside myself with joy, eagerly anticipating their visit and wanted to surprise them with a unique gift.

The trouble is I currently have more time than money. Luckily, I found a gift that was unique and would give them and others the giggles for years to come.

Although I chose a brilliant gift (I have to be careful here not to break my arm, patting myself on my back), it’s not an expensive gift. So what on earth could I do to distract them from the fact that I did not spend a lot of money on their gift?

Well fortunately, I currently have a lot of time on my hands to plot and be creative and I thought it might be helpful to others for me to share my technique.

What to do when you want to distract people from the fact that you did not spend a lot of money on their gift

Turn the Giving of the Gift into an event.

GET A BLANK CARD or make one with the cardboard from an old cereal box or something, whatever… and fill it to the hilt with lots of words. Just go on and on about nothing in particular.

I chose to ramble on about my thought processes at the time of purchasing their gift and ran through all the gift options I had considered and why I scrapped each, one-by-one, until I found THE gift that was now wrapped and on the table in front of them.

Next. Make them read the card out loud before opening the gift. Annie had reached past the card for the gift and I said, “Hey, hey read the card first!”

Hint: It is more fun for you if you write with small letters and present the card in a place where the lighting is poor.

GIFT PRESENTATION. Wrap the inexpensive gift in plain paper. Paper grocery bags work. Decorate the paper with drawings, clever words, stickers, buttons, uncooked macaroni, or left over Christmas bows. Let your imagination run wild!

Just look at the amazing results I got below using a white grocery bag and 4 dry erase markers!

Art and words on the front of the package

Art and words on the front of the package

I have actually been drawing that guy with the big nose behind a wall since I was a kid. I’ve drawn him at the end of letters. I’ve drawn him on the back of sealed envelopes when posting letters, I’ve drawn him on furniture – you name it.

I took this picture and texted it to my daughter and she texted back, “Hey, I remember that guy, you put that on all my birthday cards!

But I have never – and this is where it gets exciting – I have never drawn Mr. Big Nose from behind! Great idea or what?

Fortunately for me, the wrapped package had two sides, so when I was done with the front, I flipped it over and…

Art on the back of the package

Art on the back of the package

I took a picture of the back of the package and texted it to my daughter. She texted back, “Bahahahahahaha!”

Well there it was on the table in front of them. Annie started to unwrap it and I said, “Hey, hey look at the back!” So they looked. And they laughed. Annie unwrapped the gift carefully. She wanted to keep the paper. And they even loved the gift that I didn’t spend a lot of money on. In fact, I think they thought it was expensive, like $800 or something, whatever…


When did you last set aside some time to be creative? Let your imagination run wild? Do you have friends that you don’t see often because they live far away? When you do see them, do you just pick up where you left off?