What Makes A Perfect Gift by Nancy Holland
Thanks for having me on the blog today, Jo. You said I could write about anything, and with the holidays almost here, I've been thinking about what makes a perfect gift.
My husband gave me the perfect Christmas gift many years ago. I'm a serious coffee drinker and he gave me a rose pink mug with a matching plastic cone for making filter coffee. A small, ordinary thing, but it showed how well he knew me. I make coffee with it at least once every day and jealously guard the mug from anyone who might inadvertently take it out of the cupboard thinking they might use it. Not all of his gifts have been perfect (the less said about the birthday ironing board the better), but I'll always treasure that mug.
What I think might be the most perfect gift I've given him was on a slightly larger scale -- I knit him a vest out of Icelandic wool. He pre-approved the pattern and the color, so that wasn't what made it perfect. What made it special was the time I put into making it. I don't think either of us realized when I started how long it would actually take. Not only was the pattern a bit complicated, I'm mildly allergic to wool and could only work on it during the winter. Several winters. By the time it was done, he'd put on enough weight that I had to knit "extender" panels and sew them on the sides before I knit around the armholes. But he wears it for any special events in cold weather (which luckily we have lots of where we live) and I think he'd agree it was a perfect gift.
In my debut novel, Owed: One Wedding Night, Jake Carlyle has already given Madison Ellsworth one perfect gift for their engagement -- a vintage red Ferrari. But the wedding never happened. Three years later, when Madison has to ask Jake to help save her family business, he invites her to his penthouse where she learns about another perfect gift he never had the chance to give her.
“It’s lovely.” She ran her hands lightly across the keys of the piano without touching them. “When do you find time to take lessons?”
“I don’t. I bought it as a wedding gift for you,” he replied casually, then froze, apparently as shocked as she was at what sounded almost like a confession.
Years of training in the social graces paid off. Despite the need to blink away tears at the thought that he’d given her a second perfect gift without her even knowing, she managed an empty smile.
“Thank you. Rather belatedly, I guess.”
“You always enjoyed playing. You called it your refuge.”
“It was. You know what my home life was like. I’m surprised you kept it, though.”
“Do you have any idea how weak the market is for high-end pre-owned pianos?”
Strangely disappointed by his response, she managed a laugh. “After I went away to college, my dad started calling my piano in the living room at home a ten-thousand-dollar paperweight.”
A question for readers -- What do you think makes for a perfect gift?
Born in California (and always a California girl at heart), I now live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I wrote my first novel at the age of seven – a saga about a family of chipmunks and the family of ducks who lived in the pond next door. I’ve been writing ever since, have published some non-fiction and a poem or two, and once even had a ten-minute one act play produced by a local theatre. 2010 RWA Golden Heart® finalist represented by the Greyhaus Agency.
Nancy Holland lives in Minnesota.
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