How would you feel to hear those words about your Christmas gift to someone you dearly loved?
The best gift EVER? Yes, ever.
Was the appreciation based on the extravagant cost of the gift? Definitely not.
Was it for an exceedingly rare and hard to find item? Not in the least.
Then what sort of gift could possibly elicit that kind of response?A gift that was full of love, expressed intentionally, personally and thoughtfully.
The gift was a letter, written from the heart by a loving and thoughtful granddaughter to her beloved 93-year-old grandmother accompanied by an encouraging poem and a Leave Nothing Unsaid workbook.
But this special gift wasn’t just prepared for one family member. It was done for 25 of those closest to her!
What am amazing accomplishment!!
Earlier this year, in the initial weeks of the pandemic, I was contacted by Laura Field from Sterling City, Texas about ordering Leave Nothing Unsaid workbooks for Christmas gifts. (Yes, this is a woman who plans ahead!)
Her intent was to write a personalized letter to family members and close friends using the Leave Nothing Unsaid format and to send the letter along with a workbook as a meaningful Christmas gift to those closest to her.
What she put together is truly inspirational and beautiful. Laura has graciously allowed me to share the thoughtful details of her gifts with you and to include a few pictures and the links to her suppliers. (A picture really is worth 1,000 words!)
-The letters were handwritten on Amalfi paper and sealed with wax.
-The workbook was wrapped in brown paper.
-Tucked on top of the workbook was a customized printed notecard with an explanatory note on one side and a poem which captured the loving purpose behind the gift.Here’s what she wrote:
The Gift of TIME
This year, God gave us the extraordinary gift of having an unexpected slowdown. As a result, we have experienced less time away from home and more time together as a family. Time off from the everyday hustle and bustle brought clarity, simplicity, and renewal into our lives. More time at home meant more time outside enjoying each other amidst nature’s beauty. Together, we eliminated, both literally and figuratively, “things” that didn’t matter and appreciated the people and relationships we held most dear. This year for Christmas, we encourage you to give your time. It is our hope, Leave Nothing Unsaid will help each of you prepare a letter for your loved ones and forever perpetuate the gift of time. Love, The Field Family
On the other side of the note card was this poem:
If lovely flowers to me you give,
Please let me have them while I live.
I cannot see them after death,
Or catch their scent without a breath.
Words of praise that are expressed,
Cannot be heard when I’m at rest.
If any love you have for me,
Please give it now while I can see,
For all the flowers that you lay on
Can’t touch my heart when I am gone!
For younger children in the family, she had a delightful idea to encourage letter writing. She sent secret decoder rings from her daughters along with customized postcards made with a secret message, playing off of A Christmas Story when Ralphie solves his message “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!” They’ll have to use the decoder ring to break the code. The message says “Merry Christmas. Be sure to write!” Her hope is to encourage the nieces and nephews to be pen pals in the coming year.
Perhaps you’re wired like I am, finding yourself running in circles every December as you search for the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. You might be reading about Laura’s well planned and loving presents and feeling overwhelmed with waves of inadequacy, thinking “I could never do something like this!” Anyone?
Let me challenge you! Yes, you can! Start early. Plan ahead for 2021!
Baby step by baby step, you can do this. It doesn’t require great expense. It requires being intentional and pacing yourself.
Writing one or two letters a month is not overwhelming. Remember: “life by the inch is a cinch, life by the yard is hard.” Laura’s grandmother is notorious for opening her gifts before Christmas Day. But her grateful response undoubtedly foreshadows what the other recipients will feel.
As with any gift, what’s most important is the heart behind the giving. Laura shared with me:“I’m hopeful this will bring so many smiles to those I love and care about most on Christmas Day, especially during these rough times.”
None of us would have voluntarily signed up to experience this pandemic and the many accompanying stresses and challenges. But what if we resolved to make the most of these trying times and found the initiative to write encouraging, affirming letters to those we love?
As Laura’s poem says:“Words of praise that are expressedcan’t be heard when I’m at rest.If any love you have for me,give it now while I can see.”
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your creative and inspiring gifts and for encouraging us all to “leave nothing unsaid.”