For fun, I started each chapter with a quote about Christmas. The last chapter includes this quote: “The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”—Charles Dudley Warner. In the final scene of the book, the hero gives the heroine an inexpensive gift that means more to her than all the gold in the world because the gift shows that he knows her inside and out.
Writing the book reminded me of the deeper meaning of gift giving. It’s not just an exchange of objects to delight and please our loved ones. The perfect gift is one that communicates the message: I love you. I know you. You are important to me.
In the course of writing the book, here’s what I discovered about choosing the perfect gift.
1) Decide what it is you want to say.
For example, what if you wanted to tell your loved one that you really appreciated what they did for you during a bad time in your life? Chose a gift that will show that appreciation. Let’s say they gave you a ride home after your car broke down. You could give them a gift card to a gas station.
2) Then ask yourself what can you give them that will communicate this message?
In other words, what specific item(s) could you purchase or make that symbolizes the message you want to communicate? Maybe you want to support a loved ones dream of being a musician. Guitar lessons might be the perfect choice.
3) Give from your heart, not your pocketbook.
It’s too easy to get caught up in spending when you’re bombarded with media advertising, but when you gift from the heart the price of the gift truly doesn’t matter. One of the favorite things my husband ever gave me was a straw hat he decorated himself with fishing lures that reminded me of a fly-fishing adventure we had in Yellowstone.
4) Take your time.
Take your time picking out the perfect gift. A perfect gift isn’t rushed. It takes thought and planning. A friend of mine, whose mother was going blind, recorded all her favorite recipes on audio, so Mom could listen to the instructions while she cooked.
5) Consider history.
When searching for the perfect gift consider your history with the person you’re giving the gift to or their personal history. A gift that reminds the receiver of a happy time and place stirs positive emotions in the moment.
One year, my mother-in-law squealed with delight one year when I got her Circus Peanuts because she’d once told me her father had given them to her every Christmas.
The benefits of taking the time and effort to chose a gift that perfectly fits that person, and what you want to say to them, is that ultimately you feel good about making them feel good.
And maybe that is the best gift of all.
What’s the best gift you’ve either given or received?.
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