The Gift of Doing

(From the Archives)

I am very picky. Simply put, I like what I like. I am sure most of you can relate. Buying gifts for me is not very fun (just ask my husband!). For every gift that is a winner, there are 10 that just don’t make the grade. So one year, on the eve of my birthday, I decided to throw down a challenge to my family. No buying me anything. Truthfully, if there is really something that I “need”, I will get it myself. (Did I mention that I am impatient too?) But here was the catch. They had to “do” something for me instead. Think about it. It’s the perfect gift. No cost, clutter free (love that!) and from the heart. And I get what I truly “need” – others to take care of things that I either do not have time for or do not know how to do. A win-win for everyone. So here’s what I “received” that first year.

From my husband: An instruction manual on how to operate our house. Yes, you heard me. Chockfull of directions for everything from setting the DVR, to changing the printer cartridges, to working the countless remotes; I no longer had to wait for him to come home to do these things for me! And the best part? It could be updated every year to include instructions to the new electronics, phones or cars that we acquired. Truly the gift that keeps on giving!

From my children: A fully stocked iPod with all my favorite tunes. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not know how to download music at the time so this gift was truly a blessing. (I have since learned.) I also spend a lot of time at my desk so having my favorite music in an iTunes Library, as well as on my iPod, was like receiving two gifts in one. I was a kid in a candy store!

Now as the years have gone by, the “theme of doing” has taken on different meanings. There was one year when my husband spent a day completing all our unfinished household projects. As unromantic as it might seem, it made me downright giddy. There were others where I took private lessons for one of my hobbies or indulged at a spa after recovering from a serious illness. And yet another where after my father passed away we spent a day watching my old home movies after having the tapes converted.

No matter what I was given, these gifts all hold the same meaning for me. My family thought long and hard about what I truly needed. And instead of asking what they could “GET” for me, they asked what they could “DO” for me? And isn’t that really what gift giving is all about? Wishing you and your families a clutter-free holiday filled with peace, warmth and gifts of “doing”.


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