What my grandson taught me about the lost art of gifting

We must pay attention when our loved ones talk to us so that when the time comes, we will know what would be the perfect gift for them

red box with joy written on top / gifting

Last Christmas, I was given the perfect gift. Not an easy task in today’s world.  Let’s face it, if we want something, we simply have to go out and buy it. Gone are the days when a person waits patiently, hoping beyond hope, that someone will surprise them with the special something they really want.

Holidays have become a time when we are all struggling to get all of our gifts purchased, wrapped and sent. Most times we are pressed for time and our choices are last minute without a lot of thought put into it. I’ve been guilty of that myself. However, this past holiday season, I received the finest, most thoughtful Christmas present of my life—from my grandson Jack.

Shopping time

In early September, I happened to be shopping with my little seven-year-old grandson. Like every year, I took him shopping and encouraged him to choose some gifts to give his grandfather, his brothers and parents for Christmas.

As we wandered through the store, we talked about certain items we liked. “Oh that’s nice,” I said as we passed some wonderfully thick bath towels. Jack looked up at me and smiled. In the next aisle, I saw a lovely crystal trinket and commented on it. Jack looked up again and said, “Hey Nonni, did you know that every time you like something, it has the word JOY on it?” I hadn’t noticed that, but when he mentioned it, I said, “Well, I guess I really like the word joy. It means a lot to me.” Then I joked with him, “Now remember, if mommy asks you what to get me for my birthday or for Christmas this year, you can tell her anything that says JOY on it would be a very good choice.” He smiled back and that was the end of that conversation.

After we finished choosing gifts for everyone, we went home. He helped me wrap the gifts we had purchased and then ran off to play with his friends. That was in early September. I left for my trip to sunny Florida shortly after that.

The joy box arrives

In December, I received a generous box of gifts from my daughter and her family. Inside, there was a gift from little Jack. I had to chuckle at his rumpled paper and pencilled scribbles: “To Nonni. Merry Christmas, Love and kisses from Jack.”

I couldn’t wait to see what he had hidden in there for me. I ripped the paper off to find that this little seven year old had made me a colourful wooden box, with the word JOY haphazardly glued to the top of it.

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I cannot tell you how moved I was that this tiny child remembered the short conversation we had back in early September. The fact that he went through the trouble to make me a gift that he knew I would absolutely love brought me to tears. I held in my hands the little hand-made box with smudges of brightly coloured red, blue and green paint, a gift with so much significance, making it more precious to me than gold. This perfect gift will always remind me of the thoughtfulness and kindness of this little child and how blessed I am to have him in my life.

A lovely gifting lesson

Interestingly enough I had recently been to the theatre to see the movie War Room about the power of prayer. In that movie, one of the characters had a box in which that she kept her written prayers. She dated the prayers and kept track of all the ones that were answered. One of my goals this year was to find a beautiful box to put my prayers in. I began to look for just the perfect box, one with some sort of meaning, something I would keep forever. This was indeed what I was looking for. And the very first prayer that went into this prayer box was one of gratitude.

What a lovely lesson little Jack taught me with his thoughtfulness: we must pay attention when our loved ones talk to us so that when the time comes, we will know what would be the perfect gift for them!


A version of this article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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