Friday, January 13, 2012

Perfect Gifts

I love Christmas.  I love everything about it. 

Even the feeling of busy-ness.

But most of all, I love to give gifts.  Not get them,but give them. 

I spend almost a full year thinking up the perfect gifts to give the people I love the most.

I investigate.  I research. I dig into details.  'Cause I want the gift to have meaning. Not just a bow on top.

I am one that truly believes that it should be the thought that counts.

Not in a "here's a generic gift...I thought about you" kind of way. 

But says "I really, really know you and your heart" 

Being a single mom, finances are often tight.  I can't always give the gift I want to give.

So my friend and I came up with a plan.

We both agreed that we want to always get each other something for Christmas.

But neither of us swim in money.  So we decided to get each other whatever we wanted.  No limit on amounts.  The trick is we only take a picture of it.  We don't actually purchase it.

The best gift I have gotten for Christmas in the past ten years was a Willow Tree Nativity Scene.  And I don't even have the actual thing.  It was given to me via a cell phone picture.  But I insist that it is my favorite gift. 

Here's why:

I had told Diane months before Christmas that someday I wanted the nativity set.  I don't even remember telling her.  But, being the friend she is, she remembered.  She was listening.  She knows my heart.  {Better yet, the set was on sale, so she included the sale price sticker in the picture...after all doesn't a good deal make the gift even better??  (haha)} 

I wish I still had the picture on my cell phone...but that phone has long been retired.  But it is still etched in my memory.

And honestly?  I'm not sure I even want the set in an actual physical sense.  It wouldn't be the 'one' Diane got me, plus I would acutally have to dust it.  The one in my mind is never out of place and my kiddos can't break it.

That summer she had repainted her living room and mentioned in passing she wished she could get a new couch.  I was working at a furniture store that year and I found the perfect couch.  Perfect color for her new room.  It was elegant, but not too elegant that her grandkids couldn't sit on it.  It was perfect. 

When I opened my cell phone to show her 'the gift' she almost cried.  "A sofa?  You really got me a sofa?"  Even though she knew she wasn't going to really get the sofa; she was still in tears that I would have gotten her a sofa if I could.

Funny thing was that year we quick did it in the cloak room at church.  And someone overheard.  They gasped and said "You got her a new couch for Christmas??'  We explained our gift 'exchange' but I'm not sure they actually got the concept.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Giving the perfect gift.

Isn't that what God did for us? 

He knew what we needed.  He knew we couldn't purchase the price of salvation.  So He gave it to us.

This year again we did our picture gift exchange. 

I gave her a private jet with a personal pilot so that when I am moved she can fly anytime she wants.

It hangs on her fridge.  And she is frequently questioned what it means.  She just smiles and says "Julie got it for's my private plane".

Me?  She found me a job. (And here I was worried about finding a job.) The job she found me was flying around the world to different spas and staying in the resort (at the company's expense) and I would rate the spa and report in.  How great is that? 

Best part is she gave me a(n actual) calendar with pictures of  different islands.  She knows when I am mentally stressed I 'go' to an island.  So, she slightly broke the rules and actually purchased me something. 

I'm sure some people think this is weird, or odd, or even simple minded. But in reality it is only weird and odd.  And we love it. I had so much fun planning her gift. And I know she had fun planning mine. 

This tradition is my favorite part of Christmas.

Even though I don't walk away with something tangible in my hands, I know that someone loves me enough and cares about me enough to know my heart and know who I am. 

That is the greatest gift I could ask for.




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