My siblings and I have been exchanging emails for the last three weeks to determine what would be an appropriate gift for our parents. With eight interested parties offering their opinions it is a little difficult to whittle the choices down and come to a solid consensus.
The discussion got me thinking… which previous gifts have they used the most? Which ones did they brag about to family and friends? Not surprisingly it’s not the basic gifts (new work shirts for dad, cute kitchen hand towels for mom). It’s also not the pricey items (a computer with quilting-design software for mom, a rotisserie spit for dad’s mega-grill). It’s the homemade gifts, particularly the ones that seem strangely inadequate.
My dad, for instance has a worn yellow t-shirt that he still wears every time I go home. I wrote ‘I love you daddy’ on it when I was first learning how to put letters together to make a word. There is a stick-figure with a round belly in the corner of the t-shirt, which of course looks nothing like the real person. I’m not sure how it’s lasted this long, probably 20 years now, but I feel like he’ll still be wearing it 20 years from now even with holes along the seams. Oh, and there is a ‘kiss the cook’ hand-painted apron we gave him 10 years ago and he still wears every Sunday as he’s making breakfast.
My mom saved the dinky plastic ornaments we made in girl scouts one year and still hangs them on the tree. She still proudly displays the photo album we made her at a milestone birthday.
And even thinking of the Christmas gifts I still have from years ago… they are the ones that were custom made for me; a brown scarf knit by my best friend, a colorful heart a high school friend made me one day after school when she was bored.
The problem with these gifts is that they usually require more foresight and pre-planning. You can’t just whip up a scarf, hand designed t-shirt, or classy ornament. You can grab a gift from the mall without too much invested time or thought. But what would it be like to invest more of our time into creating gifts for our loved ones instead of debating what new gadget they’d want from the store? Would those items, no matter how small or insignificant, be the ones you still own five years from now?
What about you? What is the best gift you’ve received?
(Photo from moms-life.com)