It's fun to have a present for everyone on your list, but holiday shopping can get a little hard on the budget. Finding an affordable gift that satisfies the giver and pleases the recipient is an art you can cultivate without angst in a garden shop well stocked with trowels, clippers and garden gear of every description. This year I'm giving gloves.
Good gardening gloves protect your hands from dryness and from the inevitable nicks and scratches associated with digging, planting, pruning and weeding. Gloves also help keep your hands from getting dry when you're working in the dirt. They protect your fingernails, cushion your palms when you're working with hand tools, keep your hands warm in winter, and make it easier to get a grip on heavy flowerpots.
Gloves have come a long way from the stiff, baggy, one-size-fits-all designs that used to dominate the racks. Now there's a glove for every task, and a size to fit every gardener snugly.
Knit gloves with rubber-coated fingers and palms make it easy to handle small seeds and work with transplants in six-packs. Disposable gloves are just the things when you're painting a garden bench. Luxurious deerskin gloves feel good for repetitive jobs such as raking leaves, pushing a wheelbarrow or moving flowerpots around the garden. For stacking firewood in winter you can't beat a pair of insulated gloves.
Gloves are not designed to last forever, and even if they were, they're a little like socks: They have a way of becoming separated from their mates. If I take one or both gloves off while I'm working in the garden, I put them in my back pocket or spike them on a garden stake so they don't get lost. That usually works.
Gloves are practical presents and are available in every imaginable color and style. They're easy to wrap, and don't add much weight or bulk if you happen to be traveling. For the gardeners on your list, they're great fits.
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