Giving gifts at my house was always an event, regardless of the season.
“Don’t come in the living room!” I would yell across the kitchen. Haphazardly I’d cover the bright construction paper and half-glued cardboard before my sister walked in so she didn’t sneak a peek of my prized Valentine’s Day creation.
We took it very seriously. The element of surprise was a must in our gifting adventures.
At Christmas my mom would place a little design on each of our packages to note which ones were for my siblings and me: baseball stickers on mine, a soccer ball for my sister, and a rose for my other sister. Each year we’d count down the days until we discovered which little symbol would be ours.
Those were moments of magic.
But for my family it wasn’t about getting gifts as much as it was the thrill of giving something. The crafting, creating, and making. Hiding Easter eggs full of unique collectibles in the little nooks of our living room. Placing personalized notes on candy bars and laying them where only my dad would find them. Once, when I was little, I glued flowers to a piece of paper and proudly gave it to my sister. “It’s a forever-garden,” I said. Not the best concept in hindsight, but she hung it up nonetheless, much to the joy of her tiny, smiling brother. And I’ll never forget it.
Our gifting escapades trace back to my Grandma who shares tokens and treasures with everyone she meets. When my college roommate met her for the first time she already had a gift prepared. “It’s just a little encouragement,” she said while handing him a bookmark and journal. “Everyone needs some of that.”
My mom then passed the tradition along to me. Figuring out special unique items that my friends will love. Something that speaks to an inside joke or a future adventure we want to go on together. A cupcake here, a flower there. A token to commemorate a big event.
I once received a little box full of dirt from the playground my friend and I used to play on when I was in elementary school. My best friend scribbled a note attached to the container: “Because you should never forget the simple times.” It sits on my shelf reminding me daily that playing doesn’t stop when you hit 27 years old.
Gifting is more than “things”. You’re right, sometimes the shiny plastics, glamorous gift wrap and giant bows hint at something less genuine. But dig deeper and you’ll see giving isn’t just about what’s in the box. When you take the time to put careful thought into the right gift for the recipient, you’re giving stories. You’re giving memories. Your gifts are purposeful and expressive—and most importantly, you’re giving smiles, comfort, inspiration.
Giving a gift is a loving thought in action. Encouragement for those you care about.
My family finds excuses to celebrate togetherness. But to give a gift that makes someone feel special—why not celebrate that every moment you can?