5 Things for Friday: Best Gifts of Holidays Past

Two in a row officially makes this a thing, right?

My friend Will asked, “What is the nicest thing that someone has done for you during the holidays?”

5 Nicest Things Someone Has Done for Me During the Holidays

1. My husband bought me dishes.
Tea for 4

Early on in our marriage, I was going through an I-don’t-feel-like-a-real-grown-up phase and whining about how we didn’t even register for china when we got married. That year, Jared bought me four place settings and four crystal champagne flutes. Over the years we’ve added more settings so that now we have eight.

Every time I set the table with those dishes, I’m reminded how my husband tried to understand what I was feeling.

2. My mom went shopping with me on Black Friday.


My mother hates shopping. The only thing that she hates more than shopping is getting up early. I happen to love both of those things, especially on the day after Thanksgiving.

The year I was pregnant with Emma, Mom volunteered to brave the Black Friday crowds with me because my normal shopping partners had hurt my feelings the day before. She never breathed a word about being tired or annoyed, but she was so excited when I admitted my pregnant feet were done at noon.

3. My friends shared Thanksgiving dinner with us.

thanksgiving with d

I dread Thanksgiving. It’s the time every year when I miss my family back in Iowa the most. However, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have friends invite me into their homes or to their family celebrations. Last year, our friend Becky skipped her own family meal to celebrate our first Pittsburgh Thanksgiving with us; it meant the world to me.

4. My brother-in-law dressed up as Santa.

Jingle Bell ?

When I was a kid, my mom would wake my brothers and I up every year as Santa was putting presents under our tree. She’d tell us to be quiet as we shuffled to the top of the stairs, bleary eyed and in awe of what we were seeing. I always ended up running back to my room, terrified of being caught. This tradition had me believing in Santa until I was a teenager.

When Devin was little, I wanted to share that memory with him. I knew, however, that my kid would immediately suspect his father. My brother-in-law, who was still in high school at the time, filled the role of Santa while Jared and I got Devin out of bed to watch. Like me, he went running back to his bed to ensure Santa didn’t catch him sneaking!

A decade later, my brother-in-law and his wife now wake up their own kids to see Santa fill their stockings on Christmas Eve.

5. My grandma gave me her cheesecake recipe.

Iowa 261

My grandma makes the best cheesecake in the world. It’s a staple at our family gatherings.

One year, she bought me a mixer for Christmas. In the box, she included a recipe card on which she’d handwritten her recipe. I felt like she was handing down a family heirloom to me.


This post was written to help bring awareness to the Community Human Services Holiday Gift Drive in partnership with Pittsburgh Tweetup. (Not sponsored; that would be gross.) To learn more about the CHS: Holiday Gift Project and how you can get involved visit: http://bit.ly/CHSHoliday2013. Read other posts written for this project here.

Your Turn

What’s the nicest thing someone has done for you during the holidays?

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  1. Melanie L says:

    When I was about 16 years old, my mother traveled out of town to visit my brother and his family a couple of weeks before Christmas. I was staying at my Dad’s house during that time and I developed a nasty sinus infection. I was so sick by the time she got back in town that I needed to go to the ER for treatment. She felt so bad for me that she gave me all my Christmas presents then (a week before Christmas) and then went out and bought new ones for me to open on the actual holiday. That was very loving and memorable!

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