Many of us are going to brave the malls and the crowds and the chaos soon in search of the perfect holiday gift for someone special. We’re going to rack our brains–especially us men–in order to conjure up that perfect, awe-inspiring material thing that says it all to the one who means everything to us.
And we’ll probably come up short. We’d be infinitely better off preparing a meal, opening a bottle of wine, lighting a candle, and inviting our beloved to have a seat and enjoy.
Of course, at some point over dinner or dessert, we could produce a small, thoughtful gift that was personal, meaningful, and enduring. There is a little-known law that states that the amount of thought given to a gift generally reduces the cost of said gift exponentially.
Anyone with a surplus of money and a shortage of sense can give a piece of retail jewelry. It takes a very affluent man, however, to locate an out-of-print book by his darling’s favorite author and give that as a holiday gift. (If your significant other would rather have a piece of retail jewelry than a gift of more subtle and enduring value, consider your future together carefully.)
The true value of a gift is the moment it represents, the history it holds, the sentiment it confirms. To translate these emotions that are by definition difficult to articulate into appropriate (and hopefully affordable) gifts can be challenging. But let’s elevate the process: let’s think of something that will be used, as well as treasured; something that will endure, and not just shine for the fleeting moment; something that will improve with age, like memories and the people who help make them.
Think more. Spend less. And give a better gift this holiday. The true value will show.