Dreamscape Jewelry Design

December 22, 2019: Unexpected Gifts

The holiday season of December actually begins in October, where retailers begin their onslaught of advertisements and displays promoting the fantasy of creating a designer decorated home filled with beautifully wrapped gifts, and chef worthy meals.  It is easy to be seduced by the dreams of a perfect holiday, yet the reality of economics, work demands, and time constraints can lead to overwhelming stress and feelings of inadequacy.  When you try to weave cherished family traditions into this demanding mix, there’s a viable reason  that along with the plethora of magazine articles and media shows on “how to implement the perfect holiday”, they also feature multiple ways to handle the stress. 

The true emphasis of this season is supposedly on giving, which sometimes is lost on the rollercoaster of meeting all of our holiday expectations.  For me, gift giving is part of the fun. I do love the whole process of finding  meaningful gifts.  I find joy in thinking about each recipient’s interests, needs and/or “wish lists”. While participating in crafts fairs and festivals, I appreciate the work from other artists which presents opportunities for all kinds of gift ideas.  As a result, I usually end up with too many presents, tucked in nooks and crannies around my house. There have been many years where I’ve misplaced presents……mittens given in June are now part of our family lore.

But recently while shopping for yet another Christmas gift, I had an unexpected conversation with a sales clerk.  I was trying to find a gift for two family members who had already told me they didn’t want anything.  They were living a minimalist life style, and didn’t want anything more to clutter up their home.  But my Christmas tradition  included having equal number of presents  under the tree. When I shared this thought with the young man, he said, “well physical gifts do clutter up space…..why not give them an experience….the memories will last forever.”

Life is always bringing unexpected gifts.

May Sarton

This week I received two unexpected gifts. a friend Mary came over for a visit. Although my house is fully decorated, you couldn’t really appreciate it as there were piles everywhere.  Gifts to be wrapped, cards and jewelry for customers to be mailed out, a boxes of ornaments beside our still undecorated tree.  When I acknowledged how I was a bit overwhelmed, she took action.  Within a half an hour, she had set up and organized a wrapping station where I could now easily access anything I needed.  A practical and greatly appreciated gift of kindness which ultimately made my life easier.

The second, unexpected gift came from another friend, Steve. He knows how passionate I am about my hobby of photographing nature. I’ve been wanting to expand my equipment to include a long, distance lens, yet in pricing them, they were out of my range. Steve said he had one “gathering dust” on a shelf and let me borrow it. I have been delighted at the pictures I have gotten, and yesterday asked him what he would charge for it. To my incredible surprise, he told me to keep it…….no charge. I was flabbergasted and incredibly grateful.

Watching the birds at our feeders is a gift we never get tired of. With my new “to me” lens, I can capture incredible details.

The conversation with the sales clerk and the two “unexpected gifts” I received this week, led to reflections on exploring the idea of gifts; in particular the kind that can’t be purchased or wrapped.  When I opened the door to this type of thinking, it gave me some insights I wasn’t expecting.  

Time life’s most precious gift. Utilize it! Share it! Cherish it!


In exploring this revised concept of gifts, I thought about others on my “list”. For example, my elderly dad doesn’t need another sweater.  His greatest appreciation is the time I give him, whether or not in person or a phone call.  Another family member, who is juggling three jobs and children, could use some assistance in her home maintenance, not another piece of pottery. While I still have the sweater and pottery bowl now gaily wrapped, my gift of time will come in the days ahead.

Our dad, who turned 100 in September, has a century worth of wonderful holiday memories to share.

A search for quotes on gifts led to some inspirational thoughts to remind us of what gifts are the most meaningful, during this holiday season and all year round. Enjoy them, share them, please add some of your own in the comments below.

If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Some gifts are big. Other are small. But the ones that come from the heart are the best gifts of all.

Tinku Razoria

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.

Hubert H. Humphrey

The best gifts in the world are not in the material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love.

Amanda Boyarshinov

The best gift you can give is a hug one size fits all and no one ever minds if you return it


My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

Jim Valvano

The best gift you can give to someone is your time, because you’re giving them something you can never get back.


A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands.

Maria Shriver

Life is a gift worth unwrapping everyday


Be a gift and a benediction.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
We wish you the happiest of holidays, filled with heart warming memories to cherish in the years to come.


  • Rita
    December 22, 2019

    After spending a wonderful morning with lots of family I found your blog very right on and very appropriate.


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