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Seeing Beyond the Dollars

What was the best gift you’ve ever received? Think beyond just unwrapping a box with something inside. A gift can come in many forms. So think again, what was the best gift you ever received?

When a group of people were asked to write a paragraph in response to this question, the answers were surprising, and touching. The message to us all is simple. Gifts don’t have to be connected to a dollar amount. Sometimes they do, like when you gift your food loving friend her favourite (expensive) bottle of olive oil! But so often, the price tag is unimportant. The real gift is the story, the thought and the love behind the gift.

  • One creative son gave his father a DNA testing kit for his dogs! He knew his father loved working with rescue dogs, and often wondered where they came from. The testing kit gave him a story for each of his beloved dogs. Another collected her mother’s recipes and presented each of her siblings with a family cookbook. 
  • Parents and grandparents always have a few items in their homes that a child has lovingly made for them. No present bought from a store can compare to that framed picture, or hand painted dish!
  • Couples, together for many years, often find it impractical to give each other a gift, when they have everything they need. So gifts from long-time friends as well as couples can include “promise coupons” for an evening at the theatre or a spa treatment.

Gifts can also send different messages, depending on the culture. A gift that’s too extravagant may be interpreted as a bribe in the workplace. Also, the setting where the gift is given is important in certain traditions, as well as how you present it (with one or two hands.) So if you’re an eager gift giver, check before you give a gift to someone you don’t know that well. 

Looking for inspiration? Think of the person and what they would treasure!

  • Memories, like a photo album, video or movie.
  • Someone’s favourite playlist (theirs, not yours)!
  • Something that makes their life easier, like a one-time cleaning, delivery  service, dog walking, or food preparation.
  • Something that gets them out of the house, like a day trip or meal.
  • A project they can work on, with all the materials included.
  • Something consumable that they can enjoy, but doesn’t add to the clutter in their life!
  • A promise note for almost anything! Just make sure you follow through.
  • A surprise visitor, perhaps flown in for the occasion.
  • A note, handwritten, expressing appreciation and love.
  • An activity to do together (that you know they’ll enjoy). This is great for parents and child, no matter what the age.
  • Sports tickets.
  • A subscription to a magazine or a quarterly gift box.
  • Online specialty TV channel subscription for the serious sports or movie fan.
  • Just a promise to visit weekly, or monthly.
  • Flowers or bulbs that will bloom before spring indoors!

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank