Feis Survival Basket
Tonight we’re coming at you with a multifaceted gift idea for our competitive dancers: why not make them a “Feis Survival Basket”? We asked our parents and dancers to help us compile everything you could think of (and a few things you wouldn’t normally consider…) to bring to a feis. While we might not be attending as many feiseanna this year as in the past, these competitions were a vital part of your dancer’s life up until this year, and this gift has a bonus: a sense of normalcy, even as we learn to adapt.
And, 2020 notwithstanding, we’re still figuring out ways to make sure more feiseanna can happen! So, consider helping make the rest of your dancer’s competitions this year as seamless as possible by providing them with something truly unique, special, and practical this holiday. (P.S. Don’t forget a basket! It can always be home décor later.) Though you’ll find some bigger business links throughout, we’ve tried our best to promote small businesses in the Irish dance community wherever possible and we hope you’ll join us in that goal!
1. The Look
I can’t count how many times we were told the most important thing to bring to a feis is: everything. As in, make sure every part of your costume (and every member of your family) is in the car! Make it a little easier for them (and you!) to remember everything with a personalized checklist like the one pictured here.
But the look isn’t just the costume, is it? Below, we’ll list some staples you can pick up at your local drugstore or order on Instacart, however you’re shopping these days—but by having these items already set aside for a feis, you and your dancer are much less likely to forget them! And why not make some of them extra special? Think about adding in an Irish dance themed makeup bag (makeup is definitely on the list of things not to forget if they wear it!), a personalized compact mirror, and/or a personalized hairbrush to make their gift extra special. You could also consider adding in a new number clip! Here’s a bejeweled option, and some that are less glittery, more Celtic in design.
P.S. You can also check out our “For Your Competitor” installment of our “Irish Dancer Gift Guide Series,” for some additional add ons like customizable dress bags and shoes bags!
-Your costume, socks, and shoes
-Shoe buckles if desired
-Makeup bag and makeup
-Favorite lotion for legs and hands
-Sock glue if they use it!
-Hole punch for numbers
2. Rescue Items
These items are the real heroes, and maybe the most necessary things to include since they’re not the most obvious ones. Below you’ll find a list of many, many kinds of tape among other items that might come to the rescue one day, but there are some items you can make fun as well! While there’s always a good, ol’ utilitarian travel sewing kit, there are some cute options out there too. Same with scissors—sure, any old pair would do. But why not add something more fun in the mix with their favorite color, SRL’s colors, or even some glitter? That way everyone knows that pair of scissors belong in their feis survival kit, not anywhere else!
-Travel Sewing Kit
-Electrical tape (black for shoe repairs!)
-Rescue tape (2-sided fabric tape) in case a shoe catches a hem!
-Safety pins in various sizes
-Black shoe polish
-Their preferred deodorant
3. Staying Alert
Okay, I was wrong. These items are the real heroes, and not just because they involve snacks. These are the things to remember to help get you, your dancer, and anyone else from your family that’s attending through a long, long day. You know your dancer’s favorite snacks and I’m sure they’d be delighted to have them, but there’s always another option…something brand new! Companies like Munch Pak or Try the World offer one-offs or subscription services for a variety of tasty treats sourced from all over the world—the UK included. And don’t forget the most important fuel for every dancer: water! (Also, depending on their age, coffee.) A personalized water bottle or travel mug (more suggestions in coming gift guides!) is the easiest way to make sure they’re picking up the right one—something more of a concern than ever these days.
Beyond the three main food groups: snacks, water, and coffee, what else do you need to make it through? Something entertaining, of course! Include a pack of cards in the basket, an age-appropriate coloring book and colored pencils, or some books. While you can check out our Irish book recs here and here (and we have more for various age groups coming!) one fun option for those in the middle reader age range would be Grace’s Feis Survival Guide—what else could be more appropriate?
-Boredom killing activities (books, cards, etc.)
Next we have all the extras to consider: extra socks, extra laces, extra crystals and glue for their Champion costumes…not the most exciting part of basket, but just as important! We sell socks in the SRL office (and can just charge your DSP, very hassle free,) and you know where to buy laces and the type of crystals they might need. The rest of these extras are for you as much as them: cash in case this brilliant idea fails and you still forget something, medicine for the inevitable headache that follows that many hard shoe performances, and wet wipes (because they’re always useful—especially after all those snacks.) One more thing to consider: somewhere to sit! Portable camp chairs are a great option for some, bleacher chairs another, and collapsible stools (this one has a cooler backpack!) for those who may be wearing their competition dress—you don’t want your dancer getting tired or messing up her costume before the performance. (Though, if you go with one of these seats, you may need a bigger basket!)
-Extra crystals and glue if needed
5. Your Support!
The idea of this gift isn’t really about buying your dancer a lot of tape, of course. It’s about showing your support for all their hard work and passion! To quote one of our amazing parents, make sure to “pack your patience and an attitude that can celebrate that needed first or comfort a disappointing day.” For something extra special, maybe pre-write them some notes to be opened upon completing their next few feiseanna—kind of like packing them an encouraging note in their lunch. You know what your dancer will need to hear in case of success or failure more than anyone else, even if the moment hasn’t happened yet! In our “For Your Littlest Dancer” installment of our gift guides, you can find some fun (and some custom!) stationery options—all Irish dance themed—but we all know the real gift is in your encouragement.
This is bonus post of a series, come back next Saturday for the next installment or read the previous one all about Irish dancer décor here! And check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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