Note to self.

By Betsy Cribb
May 16, 2019
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"It's the thought that counts," they tell you. It's not about the gift itself; it's about the time the giver spent carefully selecting it for the recipient. And that's true. But in my experience, the most gracious gift-givers also extend their thoughtfulness to the actual presentation of the gift.

My friend Chandler is an exceptionally gracious gift-giver. Whether she's celebrating your birthday or a regular old Tuesday, you can count on two things: Her gift will be beautifully wrapped, and there will be a handwritten note to go with it. For Christmas one year, she gave me a coffee table book I'd been eyeing. As eager as I'd been to open it, I almost hated to, as she'd penned holiday greetings in tidy script all over the brown wrapping paper. When Chandler is doing the gift-giving, even a flower plucked from the yard comes with a little note.

What I've learned from her is that the presentation of the gift is part of what makes it feel so special and celebratory in the first place. A gift given in the Amazon box it was shipped in is worthy of sincere appreciation and a thank you note, of course; but when that same gift is wrapped with extra care by the giver and comes with a handwritten message, it feels more personal and meaningful. A satin ribbon and "Cheers to your new job!" make a $14 bottle of prosecco from the Pig feel festive, as do a few sprigs of greenery and a "Merry, merry! With love" tucked into the bow of a Christmas present.

Plus, for those of us who aren't the best, most creative gift-givers, a handwritten note and pretty wrapping demonstrate a thoughtful investment of time and energy that our actual gifts, however well-intentioned, may not.

So the next time you buy a present, don't let the attendant do the wrapping. Bring it home, wrap it yourself, and then pen a little note to go with it.

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