I’m combining this week and next week’s prompt because the posts were just too short individually. This week’s prompt: the best gift I ever got. Next week: the best gift I ever gave. I’m also going to talk about how I use gift-giving in my manuscripts.
My friends and family are all gold-star gift givers. I’ve gotten a ton of really amazing gifts in my life so choosing just one for this prompt was tough. I finally chose the first Christmas gift my now-husband got me. Is there any more pressure than the first big holiday gift? We met in the early spring so we’d been together about 10 months when Christmas rolled around.
He got me a hand-drawn portrait of my beloved cat, Mischief. Getting this present involved working with my parents to get access to my house and snap a bunch of photos of the less-than-delighted cat (this was before the age of digital photos), getting them developed, and driving them to the artist house to deliver them, over an hour away. He then had to return to approve the proof and pick up the final portrait.
Mischief was my first pet. We had family pets when I was growing up, but Mischief was mine. And I adored that cat. As a devoted pet owner, I loved the final result and still do. Of course, I treasure it much more now that Mischief has traveled to the rainbow bridge.
As for the best gift I ever gave, I think it’s the Coach briefcase I gave my husband on our first Christmas together. He’d just gotten a new job, in a new career field, and I wanted to show him my confidence in him. My mother, my aunt, and I drove over 2 hours to the outlets, in a snowstorm to get it, since I couldn’t afford the retail price. My husband loves it and uses it to this day.
The reason these particular presents are so special to us is that they are thoughtful, unique gifts that reflect that the giver really knows the recipient. It’s intimacy made manifest. When I’m writing, I often use a gift-giving moment in my books to reflect that the hero or heroine really knows, really sees the other person.
For example, in Forever a Bridesmaid, Matthew gives Erin a miniature statue of the famous Waving Girl statue in Savannah. They’d just spent the morning touring the city when he gives it to her. The trinket isn’t valuable (I bought one myself in Savannah for less than $5) but he knew it was her favorite statue, they’d taken a photo together there, and he thought enough to get it for her because he wanted her to remember their time together.
Right now, I’m writing a Christmas series so I’ve thought long and hard about the presents each hero and heroine pair should give to each other. It’s an important moment and tricky to get exactly right. Often, I choose to have it be a handmade gift, as I did when Lauren gives Kyle a painting she did in Once a Bridesmaid. It should be a gift that has a meaning specific to the couple and far greater than the actual worth of the present.
What about you? What memorable gifts have you gotten or given in your life?