Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best (Unexpected) Gifts

Once the Halloween candy goes on display at the store, I start thinking about holiday gift-giving.  My family has several birthdays and anniversaries between October and November, so it pays to formulate a plan early.  Isn't it the best when someone knows you well enough to get you something you never knew you wanted or needed, but end up loving?  Here are a few recent gifts I've received and loved, unexpectedly. 

Penzey's Herb gift box, $29.95
     - Penzey's has a number of gift boxes, or you can order a la carte.  This was a wedding gift, and
       considering how seldom I replace my herbs, it was much-needed.  I found the herbs to be of a higher
       quality than I normally purchase, but I loved this gift because it was a nod to the life we were
       embarking upon.  It came with a note about being conscious of little ways to make every day special,
       and something sort of cheesy, but true, about the spice of life.  I thought of it often in our early days of
       marriage, and it reminded me to light candles during dinner and turn off the tv to talk and laugh together. 

City guide book
     - I received a Las Vegas guide book as a Christmas gift from a co-worker shortly before we
       relocated here.  Although it's intended for tourists, we used it often during our first few months here.  I
       found it to be a thoughtful way of getting us excited about a scary step we were taking.  These are also
       good bridal shower gifts if you know the couple's honeymoon destination.

Framed nostalgic photo
     - Last Christmas my favorite gift was a framed photo of all of my cousins, my sister, and I that was taken
       more than 30 years ago on Christmas Eve.  It was perfect for a couple of reasons...a. it reminds me of
       how blessed I am to have such a lovely family; b. it reminds me that the fun of Christmas was not just
       gifts, it was togetherness; c. it reminds me that every day we are making memories not just for ourselves,
       but for our son; d. it reminds me to live in the moment and not get caught up in the stress of planning
       "perfect" events/holidays.  We will remember how we felt, rather than if the food was three-star Michelin
       quality or if the family pictures were perfect anyway.

     - I'm not kidding.  I loved receiving those slippers as a baby shower gift because when I was pregnant I
       felt my job was 100% to take care of my baby, plan for my baby, and take care of myself for my
.  Of course, that was mostly true, but those slippers were a really nice way of telling me that it was
       also a time to sit back and enjoy what was happening and also to take care of myself for myself.  A
       pregnant lady is not merely a vessel.  Now I always buy something specifically for the expectant mother
       that is wholely unrelated to the baby, as well as something special for the baby.

Blue ribbon
     - Yes, another odd gift.  We invited very few people to our wedding, including just one friend each. 
       When we sent the invitations I knew my invited friend wouldn't be able to come, so I wasn't surprised
       or disappointed when we received her regrets.  The real kindness, though, was that she sent a spool of
       blue ribbon with her RSVP and a note expressing how much she would've liked to attend.  The ribbon
       was just in case I didn't have a "something blue," but I ended up using it in my wedding scrapbook, and
       whenever I see it I'm reminded of the people that are not near physically, but are very close in spirit. 

No one ever thinks "oh, how I'd love to receive a spool of ribbon/old photo/rosemary/etc," but sometimes receiving those things mean more than a big tv or a beautiful bouquet. 

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