The gift.

Giving great gifts has never been my area of expertise.

I once gave my boss a bag of granola for the holidays. (In my defense, it was really extraordinary grain-free granola with a “grain-free” price tag and absolutely delicious).

The best gift I ever gave my husband was given after three months of dating. It’s been downhill ever since. (We’ve been married 17 years, so you can only imagine…).

I’m wracking my brain (and doing damage to our credit card) this holiday season searching for something that will make up for last year’s dismal showing (at least according to my 10-year-old’s assessment).

And, I’ve bought myself pragmatic gifts this year to alleviate for my husband the burden of having to scour the Macy’s ads for something un-essential and un-wanted.

All of this pressure on gifting and things is so.very.broken.

But…

I had the most amazing experience last week…

The magic of the gifting experience was resurrected.

And, the gift I gave and received wasn’t even real.

It was a thought.

An imagined gift.

An improv expert (yes…improv like acting) was working with our team. She gave us the following instructions:

  1. Wrap a gift for the person on your left.
  2. Really act like you’re wrapping it. If it’s big, wrap it big. Small, wrap small.
  3. Now, pass the gift to your left.
  4. One by one, we are going to move around the circle. Each person will have the chance to open what they received, and the person to their right will describe the gift they gave.

I received a very thoughtful gift card to fuel my love of reading.

I gave a time-machine to a colleague who lives in another state so that she could easily visit our HQ more often and with less personal time expended.

The way an imaginary gift could touch our hearts was startling.

Unexpected.

And, beautiful.

After all, why we gift is not the gift itself. It’s not because our mom/wife/cousin can’t live without new fuzzy slippers.

Those slippers are nothing but a (useful) symbol.

A gift is a symbolic ritual through which we pass along love, appreciation, and care.

Receiving a thoughtful gift results in the euphoric feeling of one’s uniqueness being seen.

The most extraordinary gift givers catch a thread of who you are and what is meaningful; then, they offer you a symbol that honors it.

The most magical gifts solidify an unspoken connection.

They are an offering and a confirmation at the same time.

This year, we’ll unwrap things. Some we bought for ourselves and some for others.

At my home, we’ll also be gifting imaginary items.

I already know the gifts that I’ll hold most dear will be the ones made of imagination and idea.

Because those will be the ones that are wrapped in love.

Image credit: Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

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