Best Christmas gift

Oprah shared stories about gifts that especially touched the recipient because the giver had insight or sensitivity to the needs of the recipient.

How about having a star named after you? Ashley Sepanski recounts her story. Quote.

After my first year with my boyfriend, I expected a decent birthday gift?maybe a nice dinner or a cute jacket from my favorite store. So when he handed me what felt like a wrapped piece of paper, my heart sank.

With fake enthusiasm cued up, I unwrapped a two-pocket folder. Inside were official documents for a star he?d purchased for me?and named Martine.

That was the name given to my mother in a Quebec orphanage before she was adopted in the U.S. and renamed Judy. It?s also my middle name. My mother died when I was 16, and I?d spent a few embarrassing nights tearfully telling my boyfriend stories about her.

Even though a piece of paper can?t bring her back, the night sky has felt different ever since?like she?s up there sparkling in all her eternal glory.” End of quote.

Image credit Sky & Telescope

Or something as simple as a Christmas ornament that represents the happiness of a family Christmas can become very special as Jennifer Chen recounts.? Quote.

Growing up, I adored Christmas: the most glittery, most magical time of the year. But my stepfather made the holidays as erratic as his moods. One year he bought me an armful of stuffed animals; the next year we didn?t have a tree or presents at all.

I?m married now, and my husband and his family are Christmas crazy?my mother-in-law still has ornaments he made in second grade. For my first Christmas with them, she bought me a set of traditional German bride ornaments. There?s a sparkly teapot that represents hospitality, a shiny red heart for love, and my favorite, a blue bird you clip onto a tree branch?it symbolizes joy.

Last year my husband accidentally dropped the bird, and it shattered. I never realized how much it meant to me until it broke. I told him the set symbolized the normalcy and the family I craved as a kid and now finally had. A few weeks later, I unwrapped a new bird that looked like my old one. Every year it brings me unspeakable joy to place each ornament in its special spot on the tree. End of quote.

Some special gifts cannot be packaged.? Janet Yano shares her heartwarming gift.? Quote.

This winter my husband surprised me by cleaning all six of the bird feeders in our backyard. It?s a task I hate, especially when they get gunky from the rain. I came home, and there they were?shiny, clean, and dry?waiting for me to fill them with seed, my favorite part.” End of quote.

“Tepsii” Thendo Tshikororo recalls the gift that touched her from someone who knew exactly what she needed when she was in a particularly dark place. Quote.

Back in 2004, I was at the University of Vermont, thousands of miles from my family in Johannesburg, and severely depressed. I was grieving my mom?s death, but I was so determined to succeed in school that none of my friends even knew I was struggling. One day after work, my roommate relayed a phone message. When I tearfully called the number, my paternal aunt answered. She sensed that what I needed was home. Though she?s an educator and didn?t earn heaps of money, she found a way to buy me a plane ticket back to Johannesburg for winter break.

She gave me that gift without asking what was wrong or why I was crying, and for three weeks I had the pleasure of eating home-cooked meals, playing with my baby cousins, and traveling in my home country to refuel my spirit and replenish my heart. There are still many days when I think back and realize that with one act of kindness, my aunt allowed me to experience joy again.” End of quote.

Wewer Keohane was ashamed of her Cherokee heritage but her husband knew that it was important to recodgnize it and she was touched that he did that through his gift.?Quote.

Shortly after getting married, my artist husband and I were still commuting long-distance to see each other, so he made me a gift to show how much he missed me.

He sculpted, out of 14kt gold, a tiny deer with wings. The whole thing was only about an inch long, and he mounted it on a piece of turquoise he cut to look like a little cliff. My Cherokee name is Winged Deer, but out of shame or fear, no one in my family had ever honored it. My husband loved this rich part of my history and made that symbol just for me.” End of quote.?

Joan Silbur’s gift as a child was the inspiration for her to write. Quote.

My mother gave me a copy of Louisa May Alcott?s?Little Women?when I was 9 or 10. I can still remember the shock I felt when I realized that Beth, the sweetest of the four March sisters, the shy, kind one whom everyone adores, was actually going to die. She says she knows her life is leaving her like a tide going out. Which it does.

My own father had died when I was 5. More than once, outside my small town where everyone knew me, when I told kids about him, they didn?t believe me. I must have been making it up, a dad killed by a heart attack; it didn?t fit with what they knew about how the world worked. In the stories they?d seen on TV or read in their books, good characters met reliably good fates. Not in this one. I had a great sense of recognition in?Little Women?it was set in a fictional world, but it had a familiar kind of loss. I began to see books as the realm of the unsayable.

I went on to read every Louisa May Alcott novel I could find. Didn?t I sometimes find the prose a little ?preachy?? people asked. Not a bit. I think I liked the heroism expected of children?how seriously we were taken, how noble we could be. There I was, a child of the postwar suburbs, longing for Victorian earnestness. I knew that Jo, the tomboy sister who wasn?t even my favorite, was based on Alcott herself?proof that girls who hoped to write books sometimes really did. And Alcott became my model of the writer I began to want to be.” End of quote.

It really is the thought that counts.

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