Growth Spurts: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
It was only 2.5×2.5-inches big and made of paper, but it was one of my favorite Christmas presents that year. It was a very simple gift, but it touched the deepest part of my heart. What was it? A small photo book that my husband gave me. And it didn’t even contain photos I hadn’t seen before! It contained photos of the faces I love more than any others in this world—those of my husband and our three children. There were several pages of the smiles and expressions that bring me so much joy, and they were now in a compact form that could be carried around in my purse for quick access to gaze upon…or brag about.
My favorite gifts that I have received over the years are ones that involved much more sentiment than they did money. (You’re welcome, Kevin.) I love the pictures made with my children’s handprints and footprints; the funky craft projects that my children made by themselves; the beautiful necklace made for me by my sister-in-law that depicts a bird’s nest with three “eggs” in it to represent my three baby birds; the scarf that my sister knitted with her own hands; the red-headed doll that my mother made for me when I was a little girl; the afghan that my grandmother crocheted for me; the exquisite portraits that my brother-in-law painted of each of my children; the copy of my first published article that my husband had matted and framed; the Mother’s Day photo book created with pictures and words by my sweet family; and so many other wonderful gifts!
Don’t get me wrong. I also enjoy (very much) store-bought gifts–things for my home, things bought just for me, cool technological gadgets, gift cards…I love gift cards. But the gifts created with my loved ones’ hands, time, thoughts, and energy bring me the greatest delight.
During this gift-giving season, I hope that all of us will be particularly aware of the gifts that we receive and that we give. For those that we receive, how do we show our gratitude? Our children especially need to feel our gratitude for their handmade gifts. Their young spirits can easily be built up or broken by our reactions.
And for those gifts that we give—well, even if we can’t or don’t make them, we should at least put careful thought into our purchases for each person. Let’s not just chuck presents at each other because the calendar says it’s time to; let’s think about to whom and why we are giving each gift.
I know this phrase gets overused, but it really is the thought that counts. So make it count this season as you exchange gifts with your loved ones.
Author’s Note: Your gift to me is that you take the time to read my column each month, and I sincerely take greatjoy in knowing that. A very merry Christmas to each of you!
Carrie Bevell Partridge loves handmade gifts, as long as they don’t involve glitter. And if she had the time, she would knit hats and scarves for everyone she knew.