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Sometimes You Just Need a Personal Touch

This year I really struggled with what to buy family members for the holidays. In years past, Thanksgiving weekend was my time to go shopping. It was something I really enjoyed doing. But this year, it just seemed different. Even on-line shopping and the thrill of the getting the good deal, just fell flat for me.

Maybe it's because my kids are getting older and most of them can buy things on their own. They are all at different stages of their lives, and their needs are little - and surprisingly, their "wants" are minimal as well.

It's been a goal between my husband and myself to make gifts for our friends and family members. Although we will not achieve that this year, the idea got my creative juices flowing. Making it about thoughtfulness, labors of love and connectivity.

For me, bringing people together often involves food.

We picked blackberries this summer - about 100 pounds worth, which we packaged up and froze. My in-laws like to make pies and jellies when they are in town. And sometimes we use blackberries for special beers at our brewery. I pulled some berries out, created a recipe and made a blackberry brandy sauce. It turned out quite wonderfully. It probably helps that I'm a classically trained chef.

And although it is not a present meant for my children, it is a way to reach out to my friends and neighbors - the many neighbors I haven't met yet since we bought our property a year ago. We've been hermits since we're in the middle of our home renovations and the barn/brewery conversion.

So, my husband and I created a design, and went to the Maker's Garage at Microsoft. There's a laser cutter there, and we created the boxes you see in the pictures. We had to go there anyway to make some new signage for the menu boards at the brewery.

What a wonderful way to spend a long weekend with my husband. That and building a few walls, adding a little insulation and framing in a couple of garage doors.

For the next few weeks, I'll be dropping by my neighbors homes, introducing myself and giving them this little gift.

And, most importantly, connecting with people in a personal way. Because, for me, that's what the holidays are really about. The personal touch.


Kristin Bushnell is Designated Broker of Bushnell Real Estate Solutions and Co-owner of Bushnell Craft Brewing Company in Redmond, WA. Check out my profile here.

If you are ever interested in chatting about real estate, contact me at or call me at 425-559-1355. I'll buy you a beer (or non-alcoholic beverage, if you prefer!), and we can chat about real estate until your heart is content.

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