How do you define the “best” gift?
Is it the most expensive? The biggest? The most perfectly wrapped? No, it is the one with the best story… when you recall the gift, you mainly recall the experience of receiving it, or what it meant to you in the context of that time in your life. There are so many “best” gifts we will receive in life. Therefore, our goal shouldn’t be to give the “best” or “perfect” gift, but to create a special memory around the gift, and remember that the people we are giving something to are the reason for the gift in the first place!
When I consider the best gift I ever received, I go back to October of 2016. After a long week at work, I was looking forward to the massage that my then-boyfriend, Sloan, had booked for me. It was a sweet gesture, and something I really needed. I hadn’t been that relaxed lately, and it was a nice treat! On my way home from the massage, he kept calling and texting, wanting to know my ETA. It was odd coming from Sloan, who is usually a pretty laid back guy. When I pulled in the driveway, I noticed he was at my house. Hmmm.. that’s weird, I thought. We had dinner plans, but I assumed I would have time to get ready after my massage. If you’ve ever had a massage, you know that you definitely look disheveled afterwards (at least, I do!). As I walked up to the door, however, I noticed candlelight and realized what was really going on. He was about to propose! And here I was all lotiony and crumpled from the massage!
As I walked in, I saw Sloan, rose petals, heard romantic music playing, and immediately realized it didn’t matter how I looked. All that mattered was that moment, when this person I loved so much was confessing his love for me! It was the sweetest gesture, and meant so much to me. He put the ring on my finger, and we kissed. It really was magical. I have never been so happy and terrified in my life. We were going to be together forever! While it was a pretty epic moment at the time, when I look at where we are now, I realize that it was just the beginning of one of the best phases of my life. Our love is constantly changing and growing, and we get to experience that together.
Which brings me to the best gift I ever received – my engagement ring. You see, we had actually gone together to choose the diamond and setting. We would go to the jeweler, and then go out for a nice dinner date after each appointment. We built that ring together, just like we are building our life together now. So, even though I already knew we were getting engaged, it was even more special when it actually happened because we had chosen it all together – including the ring. Now when I look at my ring, I think of all the special times we spent creating it, and how sweet Sloan was to create a special night for me.
You’ll note that while I love my ring, it isn’t really the ring that is the best gift. It is the moments and experiences leading up to and surrounding the ring that I remember fondly and that make it so special to me. Sloan honestly could probably have given me a piece of string and I would have been just as happy (although a diamond is pretty awesome too!). The fact that he loved me, of all the people he could choose, was the important thing to me. That we made a commitment to each other. A ring is replaceable, but the feeling I have for Sloan is irreplaceable. Whenever I’m just living my life and I look down at my engagement ring, it reminds me of that feeling. I recall the moments we’ve spent together, and think about how excited I am for our future. The ring brings me back to the basics, to that night when Sloan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, amongst a bunch of candles and rose petals, with a cheesy romantic song playing. And isn’t that what makes a gift the best?
The main takeaway from my own “best gift” experience for me is that sometimes, it’s not even about the actual object we receive. It’s about the experiences surrounding the object that give it meaning. The ring is of course beautiful and exactly what I wanted to symbolize our love, but it’s really not about the ring. Every moment surrounding it is what I recall when I look at it. The love and life moments leading to it and after I received it, from planning our wedding to buying our first home together. Those are the moments I remember when I look at it.
It is easy for us to get caught up in perfection when choosing a gift for someone. It could be as small as a little thank you gift for your child’s teacher or as big as a wedding ring for your husband, but we still all want to give that person the “best” gift we can, right? I myself have experienced this many times, and it can leave you feeling a little desperate. I have spent way more money than I normally would on a gift, gone out of my way to seek the “perfect” gift that someone will surely love, only to feel let down when he or she didn’t open the gift and immediately love it.
Rather than worrying so much about the gift, I could have spent that precious time considering how much I care about my friend. I could have selected a lovely, simple gift. Then, I could focus on my friend or family member during their special event, which is what really is the best gift. The memories we make with our loved ones are truly the best gifts, and they can’t be bought anywhere… we have to show up and give our time and energy to those we care about most in life.
So, what about you? What was the best gift you ever received? Do you have any special memories you associate with it? Share in the comments below!