A Simply Magical Gift


‘Tis a Gift to be Simple

Well folks, there’s no more denying that the holiday season has arrived. That’s right, even though you didn’t shed those five pounds before T-day so you could stuff your face, you are still able run outside in a t-shirt on some days, and you swear the year has just flown by “way too fast”,  They’re Heeeerrrre….  

It’s time to hurry up and start thinking about those holiday gifts!  What Lego will you get little Bobby? How on Earth will you choose the best American Girl Doll for Emily? Will Aunt Alice appreciate her perennial fuzzy-slipper gift? Will you be able to resist settling on a Starbucks gift card for your office Secret Santa exchange? Will these kids ever stop singing “Let it Go?!”

Last night while browsing through my email (which was stuffed with 24-Hour-Only flash sales, “Limited Time Only!” proclamations, Free Shipping deals and Last-Chance-to-Save offers), I started my holiday gift list. My mind began to drift, thinking about fun holiday get-togethers from years past, great Christmas Eve dinners with extended family, and all the post-meal games of “Celebrity” where my sister and I high-fived until our palms were sore.

I had tripped down into the holiday-memory rabbit hole, and 30 minutes later I still didn’t have a single gift idea written down. It was time to climb my way back to the gift list. I started trying to recall presents I had received from others, thinking that might give me some inspiration. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could not remember very many store-bought gifts at all, let alone who had given them to me. I guess that’s not so surprising. “I’m so glad Grandma gave me that oversized cable-knit sweater!” and “This hand lotion/shower gel caddy really touched my heart!”  are indeed phrases that never passed through these lips. I really couldn’t even recall receiving the bigger gifts like computers, phones or games. Those material things seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle of things I just sorta have, not things that I received as gifts. Back to the task at hand.

Must. Get. Shopping. List. Done.

Then something happened. My body started getting warm. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth. I was headed back down the rabbit hole, but this time I was ready to free fall. I thought of some of the most wonderful gifts that I had ever gotten and the memories filled my spirit. For a little while I was blissful living in the past. What gifts might make a person feel so complete and happy? You might be surprised:

A 24-cassette holder filled with mixed tapes.  Those of you that have no idea what cassette holders or mixed tapes are might just want to skip this one. In 1993, before I embarked on a three month-long journey across the country, my dear friend stayed up for two days straight making me music tapes to accompany me on my trip. She wrote notes inside of them and had recorded music that corresponded to different regions and sights in the U.S. Sometimes she also recorded her voice with funny vignettes. I can’t play them anymore, but I still have that box of tapes and I will never let it go.

A scrapbook album. A few years ago, my sister gave me a “Sisters” album. She dug through old pictures at my parents’ house, made copies of them, and dotted the album with little snippets about us, funny moments we had shared and special memories. She also left space for me to write notes in the book. Sometimes when Sissy comes to visit, we flip through the book together side-by-side on the sofa.

A jar filled with memories. Before her cross-country move many years ago, a friend handed me a gift and told me not to open it until after she left.  We had become very close and she knew I was going to miss her terribly. The next day, I opened the gift. It was a ceramic jar that said “Memories” on it and inside were about 60 little paper notes with just a sentence or two about something we had done together. I laughed and cried so hard, and every now and again I still peek inside the jar when I need a pick-me-up.

A painting with my favorite poem written on the back.  My best friend is a brilliant artist. It seems she was born with a paintbrush in one hand and a wad of clay in the other.  When we graduated from college, she painted me her interpretation of my favorite poem, and hand wrote that poem on the back of the canvas in calligraphy. I had the painting framed years later when I could afford it, and it hangs on my wall next to my bookshelf. It is always in plain view, and when I see it I am reminded of our unwavering, 40-year friendship.

These are just of the few of the personal, lovely and meaningful gifts my loved ones have given me over the years. While mixed tapes might be off the docket for you, maybe you’ll consider making something special for at least one or two people on your holiday roster. If they’re like me, it’ll be on the short list of gifts they actually hold on to both with their hands and their hearts.

I think I’m finally ready to start that list now…

Blog courtesy of Lisa Ellis, Regional Director of Spas and Retail.  To contact Lisa, email her at lellis@ffc.com.