Gracious giving requires no special talent, nor large amounts
of money. It is compounded of the heart and head acting
together to achieve the perfect means of expressing our
feelings. For, as Emerson explains, "The only gift is a
portion of thyself."
A little girl gave her mother several small boxes tied
with bright ribbons. Inside each were slips of paper
on which the child had printed messages such as, "Good
for two flowerbed weddings," "Good for two floorscrubbings."
She had never read Emerson, but unconsciously she put a
large part of her small self into her gift.
A young bride received a wedding present from an older woman.
With it went a note, "Do not open until you and your husband
have your first tiff."
When there finally came a day of misunderstanding the bride
remembered the package. In it she found a card box filled
with her friend's favorite recipes--and a note, "You will
catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar."
It was a wise woman indeed who gave of her experience with
Family gifts should be the most satisfying because we know
each member's wish and whim. Yet how often we make the stereo-
typed offeringsties, candy, or household utensils. One man I
know is planning an unusual present for his wife. When I saw
him coming out of a dancing studio, he explained: "I got tired
of hearing my wife complain about my dancing. It's going to
be a lasting birthday present for her--my dancing well."
An elderly lady on an Iowa farm wept with delight when her son
in New York had a telephone installed in her house and followed
it up with a weekly long-distance call.
All gifts that contain a portion of self signify that someone
has been really thinking of us. One of the most useful and
thoughtful travel presents a girl ever received was currency
of the country to which she was going. A friend bought her
some pesos from a bank so that she would have the correct money
for tips and taxi fare when she first arrived in Mexico.
Chances for heroic giving are rare, yet every day there are oppor-tunities to give a part of yourself to someone who needs it. It
may be no more than a kind word or a letter written at the right
time. The important thing about any gift is the amount of your-
self you put into it.