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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things": The Beginnings of My New Pajamas

I absolutely love it when one of my family members saves some money when buying a gift for me. I love it even more when I can put this gift to use in a way that saves me money.

Every couple of years, I sew myself a new pair of flannel pajama pants. 

Christmas of 2021 one daughter bought me this beautiful grey and white flannel fabric for the pajama pants that I have worn for the last 2 years. 

It's now time for me to add a new pair of pajama bottoms to the rotation. This time I mentioned that I'd like a pink print in flannel and actually picked one out online and showed it my daughters. I also mentioned that they could save some money by shopping that week, if this was a gift they wanted to buy for me. The fabric was on sale for $3.99/yd, and my daughters now know that I always need 2 yards of fabric for pj pants. They saved themselves about $12 total compared to the regular price. So they bought a gift for me that was exactly what I would like, and by shopping at the right time, they saved themselves some money on the gift.

On my end, I won't need to spend a single cent to sew these up. I have thread and elastic in my stash and the needed sewing pattern. I've been using this same McCall's pattern for 23 years. This will be my 8th pair of pajama pants made with this pattern. I like to get my money's worth out of patterns (ha ha). 

I've made long flannel pajamas, long lightweight cotton pajamas, and summer pajama shorts with this same pattern, some pairs for me and some pairs for both of my daughters. I know this pattern very well, now. It's an easy one to begin with, but also, being so familiar with it, I can sew up a pair of pjs in one afternoon. One day next week (after we've taken the Christmas tablecloth off the table), I'll get out my sewing machine.

When I was looking at flannel fabric with my daughters in early December, they asked what I was looking for. I mentioned I wanted something bright and cheerful that would feel spring-y to me. I wear flannel pajama bottoms until late May -- it's that chilly at night where I live. So something that looked less like "winter," but would still keep me warm at night was top of mind this time. I love that there are tiny tulips throughout this print. I think these pjs will say "spring."

I don't mind not being completely surprised when it comes to gifts that I receive. And I don't mind having to put in some work with the gift to "finish" the gift. I treasure the knowledge that my family members want to please me. In our family, we each come up with suggestions for the rest of the members to consider. Our family seems to prefer this method as opposed to trying to guess what everyone would like.

How do you feel about gifts? Do you like to be completely surprised, or are you okay with having a general idea what close family might give to you? As the gift-shopper, do you prefer to surprise someone, or do you appreciate a "wish list"?


  1. The best is to be surprised with a gift that you like - perhaps something you didn't even know to ask for. It's great when you can give a gift that way, too. But in reality, I think most everyone needs to give and get some ideas for gifts. When my kids were younger and lived away from their grandparents, we had them make a varied list. It would have one toy/game, one book, one piece of sports equipment, and one piece of clothing that they might like. The grandparents could use the list or not, but it gave them an idea of what the kids were interested in. And my kids never expected to get everything on the list. It was a good system and maybe we should reinstate it as adults.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      We made lists when my kids were growing up in regards to gifts from their grandparents, aunts and uncles. We didn't have any family that lived near us for most of their growing up years, which meant relatives didn't really know their interests well. When my kids were little, I just outright made the suggestions to relatives for them, without the kids input. We often needed more practical gifts in those early years. As the kids grew older, a gift would be an opportunity to have an experience their peers were having, so we'd ask for gift certificates to places, such as the city's science center, a child-friendly restaurant, or gymnastics lessons. These opportunities were out of reach financially for us in those years.

  2. There are so many pretty flannel patterns out there, and I think it must be fun to sew it up into pj pants. What a cheerful pattern!

    Mostly I appreciate the thoughtfulness that someone shows when giving me a gift. Years ago, our kids started a tradition of handmade gifts, and they have continued it to this day. Much of my enjoyment is having them working on projects in the basement and hearing "don't come down here now!" when my gift is the one that is being made. It's been fun to watch their skills develop. My son enjoys wood-burning and my daughter is artistic and uses many different mediums, and their projects are at the level now where they could sell them at craft shows. I always know I'll get a one-of-a-kind treasure.

    My husband surprised me with a gift that I wasn't expecting this year. It won't sound romantic .... he got me a Camelbak brand hiking hydration pack. I've seen others with them when we've been hiking and have thought that it would be nice to have one, but they are pricey and I didn't realistically think I would ever get one. I'm looking forward to testing it out soon!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Handmade gifts from kids are some of the most memorable ones. As a bonus, your kids have developed skills along the way.

      That was very thoughtful of your husband. I would think this would make hiking even more enjoyable for you int eh future.

  3. I prefer to have a list to go off when shopping for gifts. Saves so much time and dealing with the hassle of returns, plus gives the pleasure of knowing you got the person something they genuinely want and will use. Our son-in-law has been pleasantly surprised by the fact that our family does wish lists and has mentioned how much he appreciates this method.

    And I also prefer to give my family ideas of what I'd like. Saves them trying to guess and me from ending up with knick knacks or things I wouldn't use. And with my birthday being 12/24, they have a double whammy so I think they appreciate the help. One such gift I received this year was a tiny rechargeable flashlight, the size of my pinkie and weighing 1/2 oz, that has several levels of light, up to a quite bright one. This will be with my keys for anytime it is needed, but also will serve as a backup should my headlamp ever fail while backpacking.


    1. Happy belated birthday, Cat!
      You bring up some very good points to the use of wish lists. Reducing the need to return something, or feeling guilty for returning a gift is valuable, not just for us, but for the recipients of our gifts. I appreciate not receiving an abundance of things that I may never use, and I'm sure my family members feel the same way. In our family, the lists aren't carved in stone. We also go off the lists when we see something that we know the family member would appreciate. But in general, the lists are so helpful.

      That tiny flashlight sounds like it's just the right thing for you with backpacking. The fact that it's rechargeable makes it even better -- no dead batteries!


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