I have a dear friend who decided he was going to make all of his Christmas presents this year. He's an amazing woodworker, so his gifts were, of course, beautiful. He made some great porch chairs for his friends in WI, a toy storage unit for his niece, and another unit for a friend's daughter. When he showed them to me, I was not only convinced of his character and why I am so drawn to him, but he also reminded of the art of giving a good gift. It's not about the dollar amount associated with the gift or fulfilling some one's wish list; it's more about giving something that is genuine and heartfelt to show how much we care.
Some of the best gifts I have ever received aren't the ones that I was longing or wishing for, but the ones that were the thoughtful, unexpected gifts from the heart... a handmade blanket, a quote book my friend scrap-booked together, a scarf, an inspiring poem with a hand-made border of stamps from a family's heirloom collection, pictures or maps from adventures, a tiny flashlight to help make sure I didn't loose my way, a pair of mittens to keep my hands warm in the sub-zero weather, a quarter that my oldest brother gave me the day I was born. Although some of these things seem trivial, they aren't. These gifts are about so much more than the object itself; they are the things that remind me I am loved and that I love.
So taking my friend's lead, I'm doing my best to make sure the gifts I choose this year not only make the recipients smile, but also serve as a reminder of how much I love those who will receive them.