The Perfect Gift

By Rose Ann Sinay

A red, porcelain bow hid the clasp on the trinket box. Its round, bulb shape was intersected by a gold-tone, filigree band, hinged on one side and threaded with a thin, but sturdy filament for hanging. I opened the ornament and placed a piece of fluffy white cotton inside, preparing it for the final, special gift it would hold.

The tradition of the box started when my daughter, Kailey, was three. After tearing through all her gifts, she innocently asked for more. Obviously, the process of ripping paper off the gaily wrapped presents was more appealing than what was inside.

The trinket was a last minute drug store purchase on Christmas Eve, five minutes before store closing. It hung from a sad looking, artificial tree placed strategically next to the register. The tiny, white treasure chest looked misplaced amongst the plastic reindeer and snowman ornaments. A bright orange, clearance sign made it impossible to resist.

I looked around for something within arm’s reach of the counter to place inside, ignoring the clerk’s audible sigh. An enameled butterfly barrette lay under the plastic fir. If I took it off the cardboard backing, it would fit perfectly inside.

The teen-aged girl looked relieved and quickly rang up my purchase.

That night, when my daughter was sound asleep, I wrapped her presents with It’s a Wonderful Life playing on the television. My husband put her tricycle together and made quick work of assembling a child-sized table and chairs. We ate Santa’s cookies, drank the milk and went to bed, softly jingling bells just in case she stirred.

The next morning, we breakfasted on English muffins, coffee and juice while Kailey played with the brightly colored, Christmas paper and bows. I suddenly remembered the ornament still in my purse. I placed the hair pin in the box and quietly slipped the loop onto a lower bough of the tree.

“There’s one more present,” I said when she had “opened” her last package, looking at me expectantly, her head cocked to one side, palms in the air. “You have to look for it on the tree.”

“It’s round,” I said, showing her a circle with my fingers, “And, white, like this tissue. It has a pretty, red bow on the front.” I picked up a discarded ribbon to remind her of the color, red.

Kailey peered into the tree branches searching for her prize. After a few minutes, she spied the ornament. Her tiny hands grasped the ball and shook it. I showed her the clasp and helped her open it.

“Butterfly,” she exclaimed, delighted with the multicolored barrette. She promptly balanced it on her head and turned her attention back to the small bauble. For most of that day, Kailey opened and closed her toy, finding bits of ribbon and pieces of her stale muffin to stuff inside.

Every year since, the box has held a little something – a special present from me to my daughter. I have seen her eyes scour the tree, looking for a glimpse of white even before she picks up her first wrapped gift.

“You didn’t forget the box,” she always asks, although I have never forgotten it.

Occasionally the contents are expensive – as in Tiffany’s; most times, it’s not – as in a department store bargain. Sometimes, the gift is creative – as in homemade. Obviously, it’s not the cost that measures its worth; it is the thought behind the year long search. It never disappoints for there are no expectations; the token is always a personal surprise.

But, now it’s time to pass the tradition on. It’s time for my daughter to enjoy the even bigger gift of giving from the heart to a person who owns a piece of it. I am sending her the tiny coffer with my final, special, Christmas present. I’ve given her husband explicit instructions on where to hang it on their tree. I am pleased with this year’s selection. I’ve been working on it for quite some time. If I fold this white paper with all its printed words, just so, it will fit perfectly. It is a sweet legacy between my daughter and me.


About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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11 Responses to “The Perfect Gift”

  1. Jo Ann Bass says:

    What a lovely Christmas story…it brought tears to my eyes. Family traditions are the glue that keeps us all together, especially during the stressful Christmas holidays. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My excitement swelled and my heart thumped as I read your beautiful Christmas story. This treasure box is a priceless memento that will keep on giving for generations, I’ll bet.

  3. Sherry Plath says:

    What a beautiful Christmas story you have given to your daughter and the rest of us to share. Let’s hope Kailey’s husband continues the tradition of the treasure box with style. Keep the stories coming — we really enjoy them!

  4. Rae says:

    I wish I had thought of doing this beautiful Christmas tradition with my daughter. A truly wonderful present that will be passed on to generation to generation!

  5. What a wonderful tradition. I have a five-year old granddaughter, and every year for the past three years, I have filled the little drawers of a wooden advent “calendar” for her to enjoy.

    Your wonderful holiday story really captivated me. I could clearly Kailey searching for that treasure box, It’s a tale that your daughter will treasure for many years to come…

  6. Rose Ann Sinay says:

    Thank you for all your wonderful comments. As it turns out I will be spending Christmas with my daughter and will be there when she opens her gift…can’t wait!
    Again, thank you for reading and commenting.

  7. Pat Bowers says:

    Really enjoyed the story and the beautiful thought behind it. Surely a tradition worth treasuring and passing on.Have a Wonder-filled Christmas as you enjoy your time with family!

  8. Kailey Konow says:

    This truly is the perfect gift… you could not have captured this amazing tradition in words any better. Will cherish this and our ornament memories forever!

  9. Kalei Kekuna says:

    Such a beautiful story! I absolutely lived it.

  10. Lisa Swierski says:

    Beautiful story! It brought tears to my eyes. Kailey, your mom is very gifted. Easy to see where your beauty comes from…the inside out! (And good genes, as well!)

  11. Susan South says:

    Such a lovely article, story and tradition. What a special bond and memories you have crafted for Kailey.

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