December is probably the one month of the entire year that has people scrambling for the perfect gift — for friends, for co-workers, for loved ones, for your neighbor who you really don’t know all that well, but you see each other every day at the dog park, so, you know. Translation: The pressure is really real, people! And all that pressure?? It’s got me thinking a lot lately about gifts and their deeper meanings. How do you know you’ve found the right gift for someone? What makes you look at something and go, “YES! This is most definitely it”? For me, I’m reminded of those questions every time I think back to what happened when I bought my sister a Fiona PEZ dispenser. The story goes something like this…
I don’t even remember when I bought the gift, but I know that it was years ago. In fact, I don’t even think it was for Christmas. I’m pretty obsessed with PEZ dispensers and actually sport quite an impressive collection and during one of my classic shopping trips one day, I spotted some Shrek dispensers. I snatched up two of them: Shrek himself and Fiona. I didn’t buy them with my sister in mind, but the more I thought about it, the more it fit and seemed like fate was somehow stepping in. She’d been struggling and having a hard time in those days and my heart just broke for her. Granted, I knew I couldn’t make all her problems disappear, but I did know that I wanted to do something — anything — to lift some of that darkness, even if it was only a little bit.
So I added the Shrek dispenser to my collection and gave her Fiona. It may have been a small gesture, but the meaning behind it was anything but tiny.
“I want you to think about something every single time you look at Fiona,” I told her. “I want you to think about the moral of the movie. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside or how people see you because what’s inside? That’s who you are. That’s your true soul. And that’s what is important. None of that other stuff matters. You are loved — so much more than you’ll ever know.”
Today, all these years later, that PEZ dispenser still sits on the bookcase in her bedroom; Fiona has become a fixture and continues to watch over her, and I like to think that it has something to do with the meaning behind my gift. Small. Simple. Incredibly powerful.
And, when I took this picture, I noticed the poignant framed quote beside it…
Be not afraid of going slowly
Be afraid only of standing still
The lesson here, friends: Never underestimate the power of a gift, no matter how small. That PEZ dispenser couldn’t have cost more than $3 and yet it meant more than any million-dollar diamond ever could. As the old saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts” and I fully believe that. So go forth and give with all your heart this holiday season. It just might mean more than you’ll ever know… xoxo