Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Best Gift I Ever Gave

SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.

For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000.

Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

I LOVE gift giving and it doesn’t matter the reason or occasion for the present.

I love buying and giving gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and especially “no reason” gifts. My Mom was one of the best at buying and giving gifts and she taught us by example that some of the best gifts to give and receive are those given for no reason. She also taught us that it’s not the price of the gift but the time, effort and thought that goes into the present that matters most.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year because of the “journey.” I love shopping for the perfect gifts for my husband, my brother and now my children. So much thought goes into every gift big or small including the stocking stuffers. I spend time researching the gifts, browsing catalogs, window shopping, online shopping and driving all over to find the best presents. And while I dread wrapping the gifts I look forward to seeing the look on the person’s face when they open their gift.

This year money is tight for my family and instead of a mountain of gifts spilling out from the under the tree, there will only be a few gifts some of them more of a necessity like clothing or shoes than fancy toys or gadgets. But I’m excited to see my two year old’s excitement on Christmas and I know she’ll enjoy unwrapping her presents. And thanks to my parents I know that the best gifts are those that can’t be wrapped because the best gifts for a child or anyone else are the gifts of time and love.

I know this because the best gift I ever gave anyone wasn’t a toy or a gadget and it wasn’t wrapped in shiny paper. When I was a child we would drive downtown to church every Sunday morning and on our drive we always passed an old man on a park bench huddled up in a worn out coat.

One Sunday it was incredibly cold outside and as we drove past I told Mom and Dad I was worried about the man freezing. So we drove to Bojangles, a chicken restaurant and bought a biscuit and large steaming cup of coffee and then drove back to the bench and gave it to the gentleman.

I can’t really describe the feeling I experienced. There wasn’t any joy in shopping, no shiny paper or fancy bows, no anticipation of having found the perfect gift and waiting for the person to open their present but instead there was the look of surprise and appreciation that I haven’t really seen anyone express before or after that experience.

This gentleman wasn’t on the corner begging for money for food, he wasn’t seeking sympathy or expecting anything for free but he was truly thankful. After that Sunday it became a weekly tradition for us, every Sunday on our way to church we’d go by and get a sausage biscuit and coffee and drop it off to the gentleman on the bench. And every time he looked shocked and was so thankful.

Now I’m looking forward to this Christmas and spending Christmas day with my two children, my brother and his fiancĂ©’ and my husband. I’m excited to get the gifts wrapped and under the tree and to assemble our daughter’s gift on Christmas Eve. But

I know that the best gifts we can ever give our children are those of time and love and hopefully we can teach them that the best gift they’ll ever give is to help someone less fortunate or someone in need as my parents gave us.

SWAGG has partnered with non-profit Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to SU2C up to $125,000. Awesome, right?! Visit the SU2C site for more info

More info about Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.