This post originally ran on December 21, 2012.
This Christmas season, my thoughts keep turning back to one gift: a gift we received just before we were married.
Just before our wedding, our pastor told us that he didn’t want an honorarium–with two conditions.
First, he made us promise to set aside the money we would have paid him, and spend it instead on a really nice dinner for just the two of us.
Second, he told us to send him a note after the dinner letting him know where we went and how our meal was.
Our pastor explained that he cared deeply about investing in the marriages of young couples (like us), and he wanted to start us out on the right foot by gifting us one of the first date nights of our marriage.
We appreciated the gesture and enjoyed a nice dinner out. And of course we sent him a note sharing our restaurant choice and thanking him for our date night.
Do you see how brilliant my pastor was? He managed to give a wonderful gift without even giving anything. He basically gave us the equivalent of cash, or a gift card–gifts that are not typically considered to be “thoughtful” ones. But because he explained the meaning of the gift–and why he chose it for us–we will forever remember it as a thoughtful gift.
Christmas is right around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’ve spent the past few weeks (or months) focused on choosing the right gifts for your loved ones. Gifts that they’ll love and appreciate, gifts that are right for them.
We say, “it’s the thought that counts,” and it’s true–but too often, we never tell people what we were thinking when we chose their gift.
This year, tell them.
Tell your loved ones what you had in mind when you picked out their gift, even if–no, especially if–you chose something normal-ish like a watch or a tie or a bracelet. Tell them what you were thinking about what they like and how they live, what they care about, what they dream of.
If you really want them to remember, put it in a handwritten note.
It’s the thought that counts. So tell your loved ones what you’re thinking.
Can you share a way to make a mundane gift meaningful? Post your tips to comments!