Advocate December 2019
PICTURING THE PERFECT GIFT
What Makes a Great Present The season of giving comes with its fair share of stress, especially when it comes to the giving itself.
If you’re like me, you know holiday shopping comes down to more than just buying expensive stuff in the hopes that your loved ones like it. Finding the right present for someone is a skill often overlooked. You see this most in young children. I remember the first time my oldest daughter went Christmas shopping with my husband. She’d gotten everyone on her list Barbie dolls — including me! It took time for her to learn that choosing a great gift for someone means putting yourself in their shoes, something we adults can struggle with from time to time. You won’t always know what a loved one wants or needs, and the temptation to just phone it in with a gift card or something generic is real. But, while you can’t always find gifts that speak to the wants and needs of the people you’re shopping for, you can still find a way to get them something that speaks to your shared connection. My brother and I stumbled upon this in our college years. We didn’t exactly have the means to go out and get anything really nice for our family, so we decided to do something fun! We took my beloved cocker spaniel to a photo studio for a very 1980s Christmas photo. It barely cost us anything, but our parents have kept that gift to this day. Based on this experience, I decided to make a calendar for my grandmother a few years later. I had my first nice camera and a Macintosh, so I could finally make those sorts of projects a reality.
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I just took the family moments I’d captured over the past year and put it into the computer- provided template. She loved the calendar so much that I was all but obligated to make one every year. I even started making them run through at least January to buy me more time on the next one! Giving those photo keepsakes brought me a lot of joy, and my kids noticed. Last year, they surprised my husband and me with a hardcover scrapbook they’d put together with the help of their sitter. This book, filled with photos of the three of them at the beach, was the perfect gift — and an utter surprise to my husband and me. They were so excited to give it to us, which made me realize how mature they’ve become. They found the joy of giving. I still pull out that scrapbook — it’s the kind of gift I’m going to treasure my whole life, especially as the kids keep growing. It’s a great reminder to not get caught up in the holiday sales and the push to get flat-screens and other expensive gadgets. Often the most memorable present you can get someone is something that reminds them of your time together. To put it another way, it really is the thought that counts.
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“The season of giving comes with its fair share of stress, especially when it comes to the giving itself.”
-Heather Qu ick
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