I love gifts that keep on giving. You don’t just get a megadose of happy, you get lots and lots of doses of happy spread out over time. It’s kind of like the difference between getting a beautiful delivery of flowers vs. getting beautiful flowers every month for six months.
I also love milestone birthdays (16, 21, 30, 40, 50…) because the opportunity to try and incorporate the number of years being celebrated into the gift is just too good to pass up.
I decided to put both of these ideas into action recently for a friend’s 40th birthday. You may not know my friend, but I’m sure YOU have a friend like her. She’s that person in your life who gives so much to so many. She’s an amazing wife, mom, friend, supporter of many charities… She literally spreads joy wherever she goes, so I thought it might be nice to give her a gift that would bring her a hit of happy—40 times!
One of the very first times I met this particular friend, we were discussing how there always seemed to be so many more things to do than you actually got done. She shared that she had recently made a conscious decision NOT to do something. She’d made peace with this by remembering something her mom often said, “There’s a season for everything.” My friend continued by explaining that the item she was passing on just wasn’t in season, so she wasn’t worried about it going undone.
Maybe I’d heard the phrase before, but that day it took on new meaning for me: how wonderfully freeing to give yourself permission not to do something because it wasn’t in season. If daffodils can’t be expected to blossom in the dead of winter, how could I possibly be expected to assume another volunteer commitment that I had no time for?
As our friendship blossomed (sorry, couldn’t resist!), I learned that both my friend and I appreciated a thoughtful quote and placed tremendous value on kindness. I honed in on that shared connection and decided to give her a gift of happy thoughts.
I started by gathering the happy thoughts. I found cards that contained quotes, proverbs and inspirational messages that I thought she’d like…and kept searching and searching until I had 40 of them! (You could just as easily jot down the thoughts instead of purchasing the cards, but I was a sucker for the bright colors and fun fonts.)
I’ve always loved the thrill of opening a personally sealed envelope—someone put something in there for me!–so I tucked each card into an envelope and sealed it shut. For good measure, I added a smiley face to the front of each envelope…
…until I had lots o’ little bits of happy!
I was lucky enough to find the perfect box to hold the happy thoughts. Honestly though, even if I had put the happy thoughts in a plain box, I think the gift would have had the same impact.
The happy thoughts in the smiley face-adorned envelopes went into the happy box…and yes, I did have to count that I had the right number several times! 🙂
…until all the thoughts were nestled in their bed!
As I was wrapping it all up, I wondered,
“Will she open them all up at once?!”
“Save them for a rainy day?”
“Will she let one of her kids open up the envelopes…or will this box be all hers?
However my friend decides to enjoy these 40 happy thoughts, I can tell you each and every one is a wish for her happiness…no matter what the season.