The Art of Gift Giving

My husband really knows how to give a gift.  You probably think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not!  Jeff doesn’t give presents to make himself look impressive, or that follow current trends.  He’s very thoughtful of the individual when selecting a gift.  He searches for an item with meaning attached, or one that will fulfill the desires of the recipient.

His knack of finding the right gift for someone started at a young age.  When eight years old, Jeff gave his mother a gold colored dustpan for Mother’s Day.  What woman wouldn’t dream of receiving her very own, gold colored, dustpan!  Now think like a child.  Every day he saw her perform a lot of housekeeping, so obviously that was what she enjoyed doing.  A new tool for her fun would be the perfect gift!  After 45 years, my mother-in-law still has the dustpan in her possession, so that proves how special a gift it was to her.  A few years later, in commemoration of the gift, he gave her a little figurine of a mouse wearing an apron and holding a dustpan.  She still has that gift, as well.

JoAnn Dustpan

Mothers are like that.  After my parents died, I found a couple of small, green ceramic frogs with red jewel eyes among my mom’s things.  I remember as a young child seeing the frogs in the glass cabinet at the skeet range, and thinking how much my mother would love them.  It seemed an odd place to sell such treasures, but I must have convinced my dad to buy them for her.  Obviously she loved them, as she, too, kept these tokens of her child’s love.

I recently had the delightful experience of taking eight and nine year old brothers shopping for a Mother’s Day present.  I was driving them home from a cub scout activity where they made picture frames for their mother.  They asked if I would stop at CVS so they could purchase chocolate to add to her present.  They also explained the importance of acquiring a gift bag to keep their mother from discovering what they had for her special day. Apparently, it was tough to hide things from her.

I stopped at home and found a couple of gift bags to contribute to the cause, and then we went to Walmart.  On the way into the store, they discussed pooling their money and how they wanted to spend it.  They would find a gift of some sort plus her favorite chocolate, and should have enough left over to buy some candy for themselves.  We walked into the store, and the first thing we encountered was a table filled with very affordable jewelry, which just happened to be at exactly their level.  “This is it!”, the eight year old exclaimed with a stunned look on his face.  One brother picked out a necklace and the other a bracelet.  They were beaming at their good fortune.  Next we went to the candy aisle. They knew exactly which chocolate was her favorite, but took a little more time to decide on what they would split.  At the register they found they had enough money to add a couple of small bags of chips.  Quite a  successful trip!  I think these two boys will grow up to be the same kind of gift givers as my husband.

Cruz Brothers Mothers Day

My Mother’s Day present this year was no exception to Jeff’s rule of gift giving.  It wasn’t the typical flowers and candy, although he has pleasantly surprised me with these in the past.  Wait for it, I received a tool box and a beginner set of tools.  Again you probably think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not!  I was thrilled with my new tools!

Why would I want my very own tool box? It’s not because I have an array of projects in mind to do. It’s so when I need a tool, I will know exactly where to find it.  I never had a problem with items going missing before I was married and had kids.

Tool Kit

When I was first starting out on my own, my mother gave me a small tool kit.  For 10 years it was complete.  Then as my family grew, the tools began to disappear.  Sometimes I would find a lost item and return it to its place.  The last 25 years, though, have taken their toll on that kit, and about half of it is gone. Although it is useless, I still keep it in the kitchen drawer. I guess I think tools will reappear, or maybe I just like being reminded of my mother.


It’s time to retire that little tool set.  I can’t complain about it anymore, now that it has been so ceremoniously replaced. I’ll place it inside my new toolbox, so I keep the fond memories of my mother and of children taking my things. Maybe I should make one last sweep of the barn ground for those missing tools.  It was always surprising what I would find had been carted out there over the years by children and dogs.


I asked Jeff, “How did you know I wanted a tool box just for me?”

“I heard you mention it a couple of months ago, and tucked the thought away for future use,” he said with a smile. You could visibly see his inner pleasure for scoring the right gift.  For Jeff, giving is almost always better than receiving.

The tool box was an awesome gift for me. The only thing missing is a lock for it, hint, hint. Jeff did great this time, but I don’t think he will ever top the year I received an aerobic septic system for Valentine’s Day.  I guarantee you, that gift was far more valuable (both monetarily and emotionally) than what most women received from their sweetheart.

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