I was recently asked, “Should a gift be chosen to give a high for a moment or a day? Or should it be chosen to leave its footprints in the sands of time?”
That’s a tough one! It’s difficult enough to find the perfect gift for a person or occasion. Add the above element to the equation and you almost ruin any chances of getting there.
Even so, I would say “both”, because to me it depends on the recipient, what the occasion is and ultimately, what the thought behind the gift is.
When my mother-in-law turned 60 a couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to give her a surprise birthday party. The only plan she had for the day was to visit the temple to thank god for a good life. After some fantastic acting on my part where I pretended to be sick, she left for the temple with my father-in-law, my husband and my 10 month old daughter. She got back to a house decorated with balloons and streamers, a table laden with cakes, a kitchen stocked with delicious food and, a brother and sister-in-law who had made a four-hour road trip to be present on the special occasion!
To say she was surprised, thrilled and happy would be an understatement. We had certainly made her day. But, I can, without a trace of modesty, say, the high she felt on her 60th birthday is something she will remember for a lifetime. It was a one-of-a-kind gift because like a lot of parents she had never really celebrated her birthday the way it was that day.
On the other end of the spectrum is my two and half-year old daughter. On a recent trip to Sweden we lost her favourite soft toy – a cute little penguin. To make up, we gifted a toy mobile phone – the sparkly, pretty kind that attracts all toddlers. She was on a high the day she got it. She loves it and is constantly speaking to someone on it. A positive side effect of this is that she isn’t interested in playing with our mobile phones any more.
Will she remember this gift when she grows up? May be, maybe not. But, I hope it can be a tiny thread in the cosy blanket of her happy childhood memories. For now, the delight on her face and her happy “thanchu” (thank you) is good enough.
At the end of the day, I think, what matters is how the gift makes a person feel at that point in time. A good gift, even if it doesn’t last physically, will leave a tiny footprint in the sands of time.