I have the gift of gab.
Rare is the moment I find myself with nothing I could possibly say.
Some people have the gift of giving gifts.
I am not one of these people. I’ll give you my time, heart, attention, and thoughts, but I’m not gifted at giving gifts.
But, I have some friends who are professional-grade gift-givers. I appreciate the thoughtfulness behind their gifts, both in what they have chosen to gift me and that they thought of me at all.
I’m not friends with these people because they give good gifts. I’m friends with them for the other ways they enrich my life.
These people hold space for my tears and challenge me when I’m showing up like a jerk. They provide me with a captive audience when I tell my stories. They appreciate my wit and celebrate with me when something clever occurs to me in real-time.
For me, as someone who deeply values quality time and authentic relationships, these are the gifts that speak to my soul!
However, I’ve recently become aware of a bonus that comes with each gift received: a surprise reminder of the giver and how and why they are special to me.
In 2019, I was in a touring production of Legally Blonde, the Musical! After the tour ended, we had the option to buy show swag - a t-shirt, a beanie, a ball cap, a hoodie. Stuff like that. I wanted a hoodie with the show’s logo and my name on it. There was an option to have the logo on the back of the hoodie as well. The only people who wanted the hoodie with the logo on the back were me and the choreographer. This meant that he and I were the two responsible to pay the set-up fee for the machine that would stitch the logo at that size. I had to decide if I wanted to pay that much extra or forgo the stitching on the back.
I told the person placing the order that I would be okay either way. If the choreographer wanted the stitching, I’d split the cost with him. If he was okay without it, I would be okay without it. Nothing more was said.
My hoodie arrived with the stitching on the back. Great.
My bill arrived and was not enough to cover the stitching on the back.
The choreographer had covered the bill for both of us!
Every time I see that hoodie, I think of his generosity. Every time I wear it, it’s like he’s with me. I reflect on what a kind and compassionate person he was to work with, in addition to his gift of covering the financial cost. I think about him more often than I might have otherwise.
My sister-in-law took a big swing two Christmases ago.
Among the siblings in our families, we often give one another money or gift cards, not actual gifts.
That year, she got me the most amazing red coat! It is so perfectly me. I already had a maroon coat that I loved. I never would have bought myself this coat. Never would have spent that much money on it.
But now, it is my go-to winter coat. And, I get compliments all the time! Almost every time I get a compliment, I tell the person, “Thank you. My sister-in-law got it for me.”
I am reminded of her love for me. I feel known by her. I feel sassy when I wear it. And, I get to have a little more of a connection with a stranger.
Another friend got me a cat beanie, another a sign that says “my kids have paws”. I have many gifts like this throughout my house and among my possessions. They are symbols of people’s love for me. While my friends are spread out across the world, they are also present in my daily life in these small tokens that remind me we are still connected.
I am not a gift-giver, but I am thankful for the love, care, and generosity of those who are. I am grateful for the tangible reminders that no matter how alone I am in a room, I’m never truly alone.