Sunday, March 10, 2019

Slice of Life 2019 10 of 31: The Courage of Gift Selection

Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!

"What do you think of this?" I ask Julia. 

We are at the mall trying to decide on something to bring as a gift for her friend's mother. Julia will be staying with Camila and her parents in Austria for spring break. (Trust me, my girls have GREAT spring breaks!)

"I think she'd like it," Julia says. She sets up the shawl and takes a quick picture. "I can ask Camila what she thinks."

We think about this for a moment. If we ask, we get the confirmation that Camila's mom will like it. If we don't ask, we run the risk of... what? What do we run the risk of?

Julia sends the picture, and Camila texts right back that it's great. She'll love it. 

Julia and I agree to head to Nordstrom to get something for Camila's dad, and we can see if there's anything we like better for Mrs. R. We choose fun socks (without texting Camila), contemplate a couple of scarves (still without any more texts), and decide to stay the course with the shawl. 

 While it feels good to have chosen gifts that we both like, I'm sorry we texted Camila at all. 

I wish we hadn't. 

I'm reminded of a PD session that happened several years ago. Thinking about The Giving Tree, we debated whether or not the tree was strong with teams of teachers taking both sides. One of the teachers developed the idea that the tree was strong because it was unafraid to decide on a gift, and that was indicative of not only confidence, but also empathy. Giving gifts takes courage. Her line of reasoning has stayed with me, and I have tried to do a better job of selecting and presenting gifts with confidence, empathy, and courage. 

Julia is somewhere over the ocean as I write this post, and the shawl and socks are wrapped in her suitcase. I can't wait to hear about her trip, and I hope they'll like our gifts. 

Happy Slicing,


  1. I love the discussion of the gift giving. It is a challenge to do so with confidence, empathy and courage. My daughter is better at it, but she attributes it her skill to me. It confuses me now.

  2. Giving gifts shouldn't be fraught, but I struggle with that too. I guess we so want to offer something "perfect" that we forget that it really is the thought that counts. And I'm sure the gifts will be well received

  3. Giving gifts does take courage that you wouldn't even realize! Such a simple errand with a complex wiseness. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Gift giving is hard! I grew up in a house where one would never complain about a gift received. I was shocked during my first Christmas with my ex when his mom asked me if I still had the receipt so she could return the thing I'd bought her (I was so happy to divorce that entire family! LOL) After that I realized that gift giving does require some courage.

  5. Finding the perfect gift can be a daunting task, but you have conquered that. I, struggle with this too. I want the receiver to know how much they mean to me. I guess that is why I spend way too much time finding just the right one.

  6. I never thought of gift giving in this way before ... but you are right. Now kids send hyperlinks of what they want. Grandparents want lists. It takes the thought out of it and that truly is the gift in the end isn't it? It does require courage, time and thoughtfulness. I will remember this ...

  7. You are describing what I call our over connected world! I still have a hard time with ordering from gift registries (although I do) because it seems like it is not really a gift from my heart!

  8. I've often thought about gifts. If you know someone well, it's easier to give a meaningful gift. If not, you just have to take your best shot!