By Lee Scott
This is the time of the year when we run around buying gifts for loved ones and struggle to find the perfect one. In O. Henry’s classic Christmas story, The Gift of the Magi, we are reminded that giving presents should come from the heart. How sad that we cannot find the right gifts for the people we love when the two characters in the story sold their prized possessions to go out and buy a gift for their loved one. She cut and sold her hair to buy him a fob chain for his prized watch, an heirloom from his grandfather. And he sold his watch so he could buy beautiful combs for her hair. Talk about gifts from the heart.
I am embarrassed to say that I thought of this story as I stood in line purchasing an i-Tunes card for my grandson. And I am not the only one either. Many people revert to giftcards instead of trying to buy gifts. I was justifying this purchase because my grandson loves to play electronic games. But what happens when he is my age and he is thinking of the gifts he received from me. Will he remember the i-Tunes giftcard? Where is the gift from my heart?
Now looking around my home office I realize that I have gifts received throughout my life sitting in my book cabinet. The book Madeleine was given to me when I was six years old soon after I had my appendix out just like Madeleine. The book Heidi was given to me for my eighth birthday after seeing my favorite Shirley Temple movie. There are Poetry books from my father and wonderful books from my son, daughter and daughter-in-law; all of them with personal inscriptions. And then there are the treasured letters and cards from my parents where I am reminded of birthdays and events we shared. These are the gifts I still treasure.
And so, Master Finnegan is still getting the i-Tunes card. But his two main gifts will be a book called Gulliver’s Travels with a personal inscription from his grandmother; “May you enjoy a lifetime of reading”. He will also receive a letter from me describing our time together this year. These are the gifts from my heart that hopefully he will treasure in years to come.