The Story of Two Christmas Gifts

Can you believe we are in November already? I always tend to stress about holidays and gifts because while I have a tendency to wait until early December to even consider what I need for friends, family, teachers and book club gift exchange, there are people out there (you know who you are) who are done by now.

I have never been a person to dig myself into a mountain of debt to buy lavish gifts for friends and family. Truth is it’s really not about the presents at all, but I love finding the perfect gift (within reason). I have the same approach for birthday gifts and feel like I can be late with those because you can’t put a deadline on greatness! If you are late giving your next birthday gift, feel free to blame me.   

Before I was in the retirement industry I worked as a legal secretary at a law firm downtown New Orleans. I was newly married and on a tight budget. The firm was comprised of four attorneys, two senior partners and two associates. I felt compelled to buy four gifts even though I worked directly with the junior associates. I figured I could get away with making two cheesecakes – from scratch – for the partners and two $20 boxes of Godiva for the associates. Godiva seemed like a classy gift without spending a small fortune. I totally channeled my inner Martha with the cheesecakes. They came out so pretty topped with layers of sour cream, blueberries and a touch of graham cracker crumbs. I wrapped them in red cellophane and tied a big white bow at the top.  At the end of the day my homemade cheesecake gifts made the boxed chocolates look sort of sad and impersonal. You see where I am going with this, right? I switched the gifts at the last minute. I gave the Godiva to the partners and the fancy homemade cheesecakes to the associates. I promise you, even Martha would have been proud.


My lesson is this: Gifts do not have to be expensive.  They do not have to bear a fancy brand.  Gifts should be personal and from the heart.  The people in your life will remember a gift from the heart forever. A boxed gift will no doubt be lovely, but you need to remember the sparkle factor.

5 gift ideas that have sparkle:

  • Homemade kitchen treats in fancy wrapping
  • Framed photo collage
  • Custom scrapbook of shared memories
  • Vase with fresh flowers from your garden
  • Custom Gift card to babysit 

I would love to hear what you are planning to give this holiday season. Please email me and share your gift ideas, family traditions or something sparkly that you hope to receive.  I will share in a future blog post.

Until next time,

Live well & spend wisely.


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