The Best Gift Ever

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2
Sep

The Best Gift Ever

I have a confession to make. Over the years, I’ve often struggled with celebrating big holidays – like birthdays.

Let’s take the kids for example.

My wife and I will have deep discussions around how much to spend, how many presents to get, and where or not we should have a party. The list goes on.

When it comes time for my wife and I to celebrate one another, we’ve tossed out the idea, “Hey! How about we do no gifts but instead we just go on a weekend trip together?”

We both agree, “Yeah, that sounds great. Let’s do that. No gifts!”

And… inevitably one of us ends up breaking the rule.  Someone cracks and buys the other a gift. We apologize “I know we said no gifts but I couldn’t pass this up!”

Now we’ve set a precedent, so I guess the new rule is – ignore the rules!

So what is a great way to show you care, without stressing about presents, money or parties?

Of course, I’m not making those things wrong. They’re wonderful.  We will continue to do them,  but I’ve got something that our family is experimenting with.

It’s the gift of a letter.

This idea hit me when I was reflecting on  some of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

I didn’t see this coming, but many of them were letters.  I recall getting a letter from my uncle when I was a teenager. It meant the world.  I still have it to this day.

There’s something special when somebody you respect shares their thoughts — in writing.

Often for the person writing the letter, they carefully choose their words, and for the recipient, they can choose to read those words often.

Being reminded of how powerful a letter can be, I reached out to my sisters and parents and asked if we could start a new family tradition.  On birthdays, we’d write one another a short note or letter. To ease our way in, I suggested we do this just for the kids to start.

I’ll keep you posted as to how this turns out.

When I shared this idea with my dad, he told me about a powerful letter he received from teacher he admired and respected.  There was a sense of appreciation when he told me the story.

He then went on to say that he doesn’t have anything in writing from any Aunt, Uncle or Grandparent where they talked about how they felt about him as a person.  I could sense a bit of sadness when he shared that.

And finally, I could sense the happiness he felt around the idea of putting something in writing for his own grandkids.  I smile when I think about my boys looking back over the years and reading the letters about their lives from the important people that surrounded them.

No matter what you choose to do with celebrating people’s lives, just remember that sharing with someone how you truly feel about them is perhaps the most powerful gift of all.

 

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Comments

  • September 29, 2016

    Jon,
    Your Dad forwarded this to me, and it is excellent. I must admit that when you brought “the letter” up to me at Jennie’s wedding, I didn’t immediately remember it. It’s been a long time. But it started coming back to me as we talked. I’m glad it had an impact on you, and it WAS from the heart. But I never thought you would save it or remember it. So much water has passed under the bridge.
    You’ve done remarkable things since way back then. We are all very proud of you. It’s nice to know that you still are in touch with your past, and that all of those letters and cards (from your many friends and family members) will continue to be a foundation for your future achievements….which are inevitable. Love, Unc John

  • August 23, 2017

    Hi,
    very nice article, keep up the good work.

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