Give-Gifts-of-Kindness (1)The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon. Between office parties, our children’s activities, and other pressing holiday matters, we still have to find time to shop for The Perfect Gift. Every year, we stress about what we can buy family and friends that will top last year’s gift. It has to be bigger…it has to be better…it has to be Perfect!!! But sometimes, perfect isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it isn’t perfection that our recipients crave. You would be surprised to learn…it is thoughtfulness and kindness that they are truly after.

I work in customer service on the orchard, this place I love to call my second home. It is part of my job to listen to my customers, as they have stories to tell, and they want someone to listen to them. During this most wonderful time of the year, I wanted to share a couple with you. As I think, you will be as touched by them now, as I was at the time. Let me introduce you to a young gentleman, who every year before Christmas comes into the barn and purchases a bushel of apples. He explained that he has an elderly neighbor lady who loved” The Showalter’s apples” (as she calls them) but didn’t have transportation to the orchard. So…every year at this time, he buys the apples and takes them to her (1/2 peck at a time) weekly during the winter. The smile of delight that she gets when he brings her” The Showalter’s apples” ….is worth more than any extravagant gift money could buy. Another was customer squealing in delight as she found a jar of Damson Plum jelly on our shelves. I thought she had hurt herself and rushed over to check on her. She explained her grandmother often spoke of her love of Damson Plum jelly and it had been years since she had some. She immediately purchased several jars and was going to give them to her for Christmas. An inexpensive gift, but one that surely brought her grandmother joy not only each time she spread the jelly on her morning slice of toast, but knowing that her granddaughter listened…and bought her something she truly loved and would enjoy.

Sometimes, I think we lose sight of what is truly important during the season. It is the season of giving, but maybe instead of giving bigger and better, maybe we should concentrate on giving gifts that are full of kindness and thoughtfulness. Remembering someone’s favorite apple or jelly is a simple reminder to that person that you listened and you cared. This year, when you visit your family and friends, listen to the stories, pay attention to the details, and when you shop for The Perfect Gift -it may be a lot simpler than you think. — Jane