The other night in my writing group we wrote about the best gift or gifts we had ever received. I am fortunate. I had three different gifts come to mind.
One was a Snow White miniature kitchen I found under the Christmas tree when I was five years old. I can’t remember if the kitchen was from my grandparents, my parents or Santa, but as I bounded down the stairs that Christmas morning, I saw piles of wrapped packages, my beloved grandparents rising from what I can assume was a dismal night’s sleep on our pullout couch and the perfectly delightful kitchen set. My heart was full.
The Snow White kitchen was special because it was exactly what I wanted. I played with it for hours — cooking imaginary meals for my human family and doll family. The kitchen was just for me. My sister was not into dolls, princesses or traditionally girls’ toys, but I was.
It’s surprising the ones who come through for you
The next memorable gift I wrote about was a loving card and bouquet of flowers my friends Mike and Tanya gave to me one year for my birthday. It was shortly after my divorce. I really had no expectations for that birthday. I knew my parents would call. My kids would dutifully say happy birthday and make last-minute cards for me.
Mike and Tanya had cleaned my house every other week for five or six years at that point. Over the years, they have become like family. They showed up that Thursday with what seemed like an extravagant bouquet, my favorite chocolates and a sweet card. That year, their gift was the most thoughtful gesture I received. It still makes me cry when I think about it.
Lastly, one of my favorite gifts was the engagement ring I received this year. The ring is beautiful and exactly my style. I love that it came with the promise of a lifetime with the man I love, but the real gift came a day or two later when we went to the jeweler to pick out a band to go with it. My fiancée, Mark, was adamant we get to the jeweler quickly so I could pick out exactly what I wanted.
As I meandered throughout the store, trying on different bands and holding them against the engagement ring, I started to worry that I was taking too long. I feared I would wear out Mark’s shopping patience. I didn’t want him to think I was indecisive. I didn’t want to take up too much of our day. But he was infinitely patient. He reassured me repeatedly, that I was not taking too long. He genuinely seemed to not be bothered. He seemed to enjoy the time. He wanted me to be happy. He encouraged me to put my enjoyment first.
As I reflected on what these significant gifts had in common, I realized they all made me feel seen. As you exchange gifts this holiday season, I hope you receive something or experience something that makes you feel known and seen. I know I’m rethinking any generic gift-giving ideas I had. The thought really does matter.
Can you remember something that didn’t start as a gift, but ended up as such? What was the best gift you ever received? Why?
Perhaps The Quiet Rise of Introverts could be a gift that makes someone special feel seen. Perhaps it could help them connect with themselves and you. Happy Holidays!
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