Ok, I'm a super cheapskate. I won't pay for parking, full-price movie showings, or anything I can routinely find in a dumpster. Even the act of shopping fills me with hate. As a kid, the worst thing in the world was stepping into a department store with my parents; they could have punished me with shopping trips. I'd be tired, angry, hungry, sore, and bored all rolled into a tantrum ready to erupt. Today, I'm not much better: my tantrums have evolved into anti-consumerism diatribes.
Some stores, however, leave me feeling rejuvenated. Well-built tools, quality raw materials, or even weird bits of broken gadgetry provide the means, inspiration, and building blocks for an infinite number of creative projects.
Around the holidays, this presents a certain dilemma. Not everyone on my gift list is excited to receive tools and raw materials -- they need a finished product. So, I buy the silk swatches, LEDs, and sustainably-grown Chechen hardwood myself, and use them to make presents for my friends and family (and I save the lecture on why shopping for consumer products exhausts both me and the environment).
So, save Grandma another baffling discussion on the links between the Christmas card industry, the WTO, and the Illuminati, and instead make her and everyone else something nice and share how you did it with us.