Day 9 – What is The Most Memorable Gift You Have Received?

note: this is part of #bloganuary where each day in the month of January, there is a prompt that we can write on. 

I am going to begin by saying that I do not like to receive gifts. In todays ritual of gift giving, there is a pressure to “return the favor” and that it has to be “equal in value”. For this reason, until recently, I have not enjoyed receiving or giving gifts. More on that at the end.

As I began making notes for todays post, I also pondered that there are at least a couple of categories of gifts. Those that are spiritual in nature as in my amazing family, good health, grandchildren, public speaking, being able to write, etc. Then there are those more traditional gifts, things wrapped in paper or placed in ornate bags and exchanged.

For the purposes of this post, I will speak on gifts that are the latter of the two.

I know this sounds a bit like a cop out, but I do not have just one specific gift that is the most memorable. When I graduated from college, late in life, my wife bought me an amazing time piece and a watch box. I received many thoughtful gifts that day. Years ago, I was working with a client. I had only spoken to this person by phone over the course of the half year that we worked together on a project. He and his wife came into town and asked to take me and my wife to dinner. We did and he presented me with a bottle of bourbon as a thank you. The first batch from a friend’s distillery. It was really tasty by the way.

My late father in law presented me with a ring. It is not a fancy ring nor do I think it has traditional value. That was not the point. It was one that he really liked and felt that he wanted to give me, to show his appreciation for all that I meant to him. My mom has given us several family heirlooms and my dad, when I was building my tool collection, always made sure that he gifted me a power tool. Tools I still have and use to this day.

One of the most special gifts that I have are Christmas ornaments, given to me by my grandparents each year. When they were alive, my brother and I would open their gift on Christmas Eve and hang it on the tree. Just before my grandmother passed, she presented me with one of their favorite ornaments. It is a really old, peeled, and faded Santa Claus. Each year that Dawn and I decorate our tree with these ornaments, I open each one and it takes me back in time. Each box labeled with the year that it was given to me. As you can imagine, it is an elegant, eclectic mess. But it is beautiful in its own way. Each year the tree is covered with the memories of our lives.

Now, in full disclosure, for the past two seasons these have stayed in the box. We love our cats and they are part of the family, but there would be hell to pay if they had a love of climbing the tree and demolishing items that can never be replaced, along with the memories. Fortunately, the little trouble makers have not attempted to climb the tree and play with any of the plastic items that we have hung in place of our traditional ornaments. Even Loki, our bringer of Chaos, has not brought any havoc to our tree.

Taking a look at the items above, these are only some of what I can remember. The list goes from what could be precious and invaluable, to a simple thank you gift. But what all of them have in common is real honesty, gratitude, care, and love. They are simple and genuine. That is what makes them memorable.

For me, it is not the gift that I receive, it is the meaning behind it, the look in the person’s eyes when they present it. The genuine smile and excitement on their face when they see the joy that it brings me. I believe that over the decades, in our attempt to do better for the next generation, gift giving has become an exercise in who can outspend. If the gift is not expensive enough, clearly you do not like, love, respect, me as much as I thought. (shallow)

This past year, our family adopted two families who had children being treated for cancer. We had a secret elf and exchanged a $50 item with that person. The rest of the funds that we would have spent on trinkets and such, were spent making a difference. Dawn and I made ornaments this year for our two grandchildren. Our attempt to carry on the tradition that my grandparents had for us and that my parents had for our kids. Someday, when they are in their 50s, they too will be able to open one box at a time and instantaneously be transported to a memory.

For generations to come, our family will know the feeling of receiving memorable gifts.

May y’all be happy, healthy, and safe.


3 thoughts on “Day 9 – What is The Most Memorable Gift You Have Received?

  1. Oh Tommy, your post today got me in the feels. Ooft. I got tears in my eyes when I read about the family tradition of ornaments for your Christmas tree and loved your description of it, I could almost see all trinkets from all the way over here in Australia. I agree with you that gift-giving is becoming more of a weird financial exchange now and a show of ‘how much was spent’ rather than love and thought that went into it. I love that you were given gifts of meaning and thoughtfulness, not necessarily expense. Sending you and your family big hugs. I hope your Grandchildren will keep the tradition you have of Christmas ornaments being opened and hung up on Christmas eve xx


  2. The BEST gifts are those that are given with pure intent, no expectations, and “just because”. We can do so much good by GIVING to those in need and that goes a long way to filling your own heart with happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

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