Gift-giving and love

I am beginning to think that the surest sign that you truly love someone is that you can give your loved one the right gift.

By “the right gift”, I don’t necessarily mean something expensive (such as diamonds), or the kind of traditional and generic thing you give when you’ve screwed up (such as roses).

What I mean by “the right gift” is something that shows that you care enough about her to pay attention. Something that shows you know her, you think about her, and you respect who she is and what she wants.

The right gift can be anything at all, as long as it is right; and “right” is individual to the person. (Bonus points for finding her something perfect she would never have thought of; zero points for getting her exactly what she told you to buy.) Luck plays a role—finding the right gift can be a delightful example of serendipity—but, as my father says, you make your own luck in life by how you prepare and how you work.

Giving the right gift is harder than it looks, because paying attention is harder than it seems. Life moves quickly and it distracts us, and while we are distracted, people change in ways we aren’t prepared for. We take it for granted that we know someone, and as we presume she stays as she was, she changes and gradually realizes that we haven’t noticed.

And with that can end friendships, and relationships, and marriages.

A simple question worth thinking about: If Christmas were tomorrow, and you wanted to buy each person you believe you love gifts you could be sure each would treasure, how confident are you that you could?

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