the elusive perfect gift

I’ve completed my Christmas shopping. In fact, I was done before Thanksgiving.

giftsNow, before any of you say (sarcastically or otherwise), “Well, good for you!” or mutter under your breath, “I hate you” here’s the whole truth: I only had to buy Christmas gifts for one person.

That’s one of the few advantages of being truly broke, the burden of picking the perfect gift is lifted. Nobody expects gifts from you. In fact, they don’t want them. My family knows I struggle to pay my utility bills, especially this time of year, and they couldn’t really enjoy anything I spent money on. Their concern would go so far as the money spent to mail the gifts to them.

At the same time it makes me incredibly sad. These are the people who are doing everything they can to help me get back on my feet, financially, emotionally, whatever I may need. They’ve been there for me in what was truly my darkest hour, suffered silently imagining what I was going through, and believed in me no matter what the cost.

My relationship with my mom has been strong for years, but events of recent years have established and reinforced a healthier, closer bond with both my dad and my brother. While times have been terrible, results, at least some, have been overwhelmingly good.

I long for the day I’m able to pay them back, if only in the simplest of ways, a Christmas gift or two.

Of course I have no idea what I’d get them. My brother lives on one coast, my dad on the other, my mom in the Upper Midwest, me in the South. We couldn’t be more widely dispersed, that is, in this nation, and as such, we don’t really know what gifts would be most appreciated by the other. Not even what gift certificates would be preferred.

Not to say anyone fails in their gift-giving. We figure it out and do just fine. It’s just that those special gifts you know someone would value because you’ve spent time with them elude me.

So this year I’m looking for a way to say “thank you” and “I love you” that will cost me what I can afford and be valued by the recipients.

Knowing me, I’ll think of that perfect gift in January. Fortunately, my brother’s birthday is just a month later.

giving girl


10 Replies to “the elusive perfect gift”

  1. My wife and I have “shrunken” gift lists due to a combo of a lack of big families to begin with and some folks passing on in recent times so we really only have a couple of gifts to seek out. It is nice not having to stress over crowds, trying to guess/get the “right” thing for people, etc. Which of course isn’t what the season is about in the first place. We can just walk about and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. As always the best gifts are those that show you really know the recipient. One year my wife found a copy of an out of print book I talked about when I was a kid growing up. It cost her little but meant a million to me. Sometimes just thinking about a loved one’s path and rekindling a fond memory can be the most priceless gifts of all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The perfect gift would be a gratitude card. You make it yourself and you write all the things you like/love about the person, make a list of their good qualities such as generous, funny, handy, etc., and maybe include a recent photo of yourself and just tell them how grateful you are for them and thank them for being them! Something made and from the heart is always treasured.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe do something creative with old photos, either re-photograph them and work up a new collection in a digital way (no printing costs) or just look in second shops for old frames u can use. I sprayed an old one with silver paint last year, and made a collage of images. Worked quite well! And I am sure u have many good memories to share. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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