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The Gifts of Transitions & Traditions

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The Gifts of Transitions & Traditions

June ushers in a season of graduations and celebrations. Skagit Acres CEO Andrew Miller shares his take on thoughtful gifts and some ways we can embrace change and champion traditions.

Photo: Spinach Bus Ventures Partners aka "The Spinach Bus Kids"

June is a fun month generally, and especially here in the PNW where the temps are still mild, the bugs aren't too bad, home gardens are starting to show some early signs of highly anticipated sweet peas and sweet corn here in a while. and it's early enough in the season that there's hope for a wild card for the Mariners. It's also a season of transition for millions of high school and college seniors and their families as graduates line up to be recognized for successfully navigating their K-12 experience. We also have the opportunity this month to honor the fathers and father figures in our lives with Father's Day Sunday in June. It's customary to celebrate these traditions and transitions with gifts, and for good reason. On one hand, we've got a population of young people at the starting gates of a future of adulting, eager and anxious to dive into new chapters of choices and opportunities, and on the other hand, we've got the embodiment of the ideals and principles of those men who coach, challenge, encourage, and assist at every turn.

In that spirit, we here at Skagit Acres wish the graduates of the Class of 2021 all the best in their future endeavors and honor those fathers and father figures who strive to make their families and communities happy and healthy, stronger, and safer.

Skagit Acres (SA): You're known by your friends and family as a 'good gift giver.' What's the secret?

Andrew Miller (AM): I think you need to be "at" something before you can be "good at" anything so first of all—give lots of gifts. If there's one element that that REALLY distinguishes a great gift it's that it's personal. A thoughtful gift requires thought, it's the difference between "something I bought you" becoming more stuff and a meaningful addition to the gifted's trove of treasures. Everyone has talents, skills, and interests. The sweet spot for me is finding something they wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves but that they would enjoy that is in one or all of those areas.

SA: What is a gift related to Skagit Valley that you think people would enjoy wherever they go?

AM: This is a tough one because so much of what makes Skagit Valley remarkable is intangible. It's our open spaces, the River, our beaches, and the mountains. We all love our farmland and dropping down Starbird into the Valley with that expansive vista of the Valley and the San Juans in the distance is an emotional event for most of us as we come home. You can't bottle or box that up. Our Tulip Town hats and hoodies show up in a lot of places around the world from Skagit natives that want to rep the natural beauty and uniqueness of Skagit Valley with that logo. Tulips are a huge part of our collective identity. I gift a lot of Tulip Town merchandise to people that I know proudly love Skagit Valley.

SA: What are you getting your grads this year for graduation?

AM: Tacos. I have two sons (Ian and Owen) graduating from Burlington-Edison High School this month and they don't like tacos but when life gives you tacos and you don't like tacos you can always trade tacos for something else. Tacos are the bitcoin of food—write that down. I'm kidding about the tacos but not about the value of life lessons. My boys are getting durable and waterproof travel duffles because in our house we value discovery and the growth that is just on the other side of going somewhere you've never been. And there's something comforting about knowing your kids will have at least dry socks and underwear when they get wherever it is they are going.

SA: What kind of gifts do you enjoy on Father's Day?

I love it when my kids get me something that they KNOW I will enjoy and will make me think of them. It might sound weird, but I like it when my kids notice me, and what I'm reading or listening to. I like getting things for my EDC (every day carry) like a quality pocket knife, my belt, or tools and books. My kids know what tools and books I want/need because they are the ones that are constantly losing them. Basically, they use Father's Day as a resupply holiday for things they have lost or stolen. It's a pretty good deal for everyone.