I have received some of the most thoughtful gifts this holiday season.
I don't get many gifts. That is OK with me. I don't give a lot of holiday gifts, either. Those I do give are things I think a lot about, often handmade or homemade, something meant to be really special for the recipient and something I really want to give them.
The gifts I have received this year have been incredibly thoughtful and meaningful.
One friend - and acquaintance, really, not someone I know real well or would have expected to get me anything - sent me a calculator. I joked that he'd gotten tired of me posting complaints on Facebook about having to do math homework for this kid I have been tutoring, and that probably is why he decided to send me a calculator. But it was really thoughtful, and quite a surprise, and it did make me laugh.
The mom of this kid I am tutoring made me a beautiful, beautiful scarf. She is undergoing serious medical treatments at a nearby university hospital (nearby meaning about an hour away, there is no university hospital in the little town where I live) and she's been making scarves. She's probably made at least two dozen so far. She sits at the library for three hours a day, three days a week, while I tutor her son and makes scarves.
So it was really thoughtful for her to give me something she made herself, but even more thoughtful was the colors she used in the scarf. I have two sweaters I like a lot and have worn often to tutor. One is tan and one is rust-colored. The scarf she made me is mostly brown with some tan, some cream and some rust in it. It matches both those sweaters, as well as my winter coat. I was so touched that she'd clearly put so much thought into what colors to use for my scarf.
One friend got me a Nook eReader. But here's the best part. He got it on some online auction (not Ebay, something else but I forget what) for a quarter! I love that, and I love that he told me that, because otherwise I would have felt pretty uncomfortable about how much I would have thought he spent on it. I know it might sound tacky to tell someone you only spent 25 cents on their gift, but in this instance, it was definitely the right thing to do.
One of my neighbors drew a picture for me. I didn't know he could draw. It's a black and white drawing of a flower and it's pretty good. I can tell he spent a lot of time on it. I don't even care that I'm not particularly into flowers and a black and white drawing of a flower doesn't really match my decor. I really am just touched that he spent that much time on something for me.
I don't think I've ever had the feeling so strongly before that it's the thought that counts. Maybe I am better at gratitude than I used to be. I have tried to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, of abundance, of being blessed.
Or maybe I have felt in the past that it was the thought that counts but the thought has sometimes been pretty crappy. I recall once Christmas, and I am not going to say who did this, but someone bought me a box of tea. Like a box of Celestial Seasonings that you can get at Kroger for $2.79 or something. And not a flavor that I really loved or anything like that. And it wasn't a matter of this person not being able to spend more money on a gift, and it wasn't a situation where that tea was really meaningful for some reason and so it was a good gift even though it was a $2.79 box or tea, or anything like that. The thought behind that gift was "I feel like I have to get something but I am going to spend as little money and thought and effort on it as possible."
But I digress.
Mike got me a new wireless router, which is fantastic because my old one would kick me off the internet at random times, usually at least half a dozen times a day, and I'd have to get up and reset the router before I could get back online. Using my computer is so much more enjoyable now!
He also got Isaac this kibble dispensing toy. Isaac loves it. I think I am more touched that he got Isaac a gift than I am by the gift he got me. I will post a video later of Isaac eating his dinner from his new toy. It's adorable.