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Small Gifts, Big Feelings – Reframing My Holiday Mindset


Just about 11 years ago, I was working out my very first knit stitches. It was something I learned fairly quickly and easily, and by Christmas 2007, I was so hooked that I was garter stitching away on the plane flight home from Boston to California. It was perhaps the best holiday gift I ever received.

If you asked her at any point in the last 11 years, though, my friend who taught me would laugh it off. I’ve seen her do it, and I get it. To her, teaching her classmate to knit one evening after school was no big deal. It was a pleasant evening, but it only took a few hours of her time and none of her money

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how gifts that are small for the giver can be so very big for the recipient. A lot of us discount the value of what we have to offer, in part because we’re so used to ourselves and what we can do that we figure nobody will appreciate it. Our gifts of time, home-cooked food, one-on-one attention, or skills can easily feel diminished in that context.

Our holiday gift-giving culture doesn’t help with that tendency, either. TV commercials barrage us with diamonds and electronics and luxury cars with a great big red bow on top. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that we need to give bigger, better, fancier gifts. I’m guilty of it too, especially when I’ve had good years and am feeling flush with cash.

This year, though, I’m determined to take stock of the people in my life and what small gifts I can give them that will have big meaning. I think of my grandma, who, more than any physical item, treasures her walks at the beach with Little C and me. I think of my mom, who just discovered the joy of a good pair of hand-knit socks that perfectly hug her feet. I think of my friend, who loves trading garden clippings and would be tickled by a shoot from a variety of geraniums I have that she doesn’t. These are the kinds of gifts I’m trying to focus on.

However your holidays shake out this year, I hope they’re filled with love, peace, and warmth.

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