So I’ve seen two great examples of extremely thoughtful gifts in the past month, and thought that now would be a good time to give some credit to these extremely generous and caring people: Pamela Seaton (my girlfriend’s sister) and Mark Bishop (my brother).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: It should be assumed by the reader as a given that of course the most thoughtful, generous, caring, and all around best person in the world is, of course, the author’s girlfriend.]

I think these two make fantastic goodwill ambassadors and here’s why:

This Christmas I had the pleasure of experiencing Christmas in lovely (freezing) Scotland with Lynn’s family. While hanging out with her sister Natalie one night, she looked at us excitedly and asked, “Have I shown you my shoes.” Now, normally, when someone is excited about their shoes, I find it hard to empathize, being male and all, but Natalie had some very special shoes: she reached under the coffee table and produced a pair of pink ballet shoes. I was impressed. I had never known anyone to spontaneously take up ballet after the age of 35.

And then she said, “They were a gift from Pamela.” Aw. Sisterly love. So cute.

But then Natalie explained that she had always been fascinated by ballerinas, had wanted to be one when she was a little girl, and that Pamela had actually gotten her another Christmas gift and this was just an extra gift that Pamela gave her. And suddenly I was so moved that they instantly transformed into the most beautiful pink ballerina shoes I had ever seen.

What a thoughtful gift! Remembering your sister’s childhood dream and giving her a prop to play ballerina in the cold January nights in Scotland in the warmth, comfort, and privacy of your own home. I suddenly pictured seeing Natalie through the window of her house, dancing around the small living room in pink ballerina shoes. And it wasn’t silly or Hallmark-movie-of-the-week cheesy at all. It was really touching.

But Pamela’s generosity didn’t stop there. For Christmas she bought Lynn gift certificates to a voice coach who lives down the road from her in Surrey. Now, to understand this, you must know that Lynn has an incredibly pretty, high, clear voice… and an incredible reluctance to actually deploy said vocal talents. Natural shyness. A lack of encouragement as a child. A typical British fear of embarressment. Whatever the reason, this fantastic talent has been underutilized since childhood. What was fantastic was that Pamela not only thought of such a lovely gift, but that she went through the effort of finding a vocal coach, in the area, convinced the woman to take her payment (which she apparently hadn’t done before), and then convinced her to actually MAKE an official-looking gift certificate and mail it to Pamela so that she could bring it with her and deliver it in person on New Year’s.

I should also mention that Guy (Pamela’s boyfriend and fantastic photographer) also gave me a great portrait of Lynn and I in a very nice wooden frame. Worthy of an honorable mention.

And finally, I have to point out the fantastic thoughtfulness of my brother Mark. Because I was in Scotland for Christmas, I didn’t get to see mark until our ski trip in January. We had to drive four hours from New York to the Adirondacks, and Mark’s first gift was five compilation CDs he had made especially for the occasion. They were great! There was an 80’s mix with not-your-usual-trademark-80s-songs, but songs that really made you go, “OH! I haven’t heard this song in forever and it’s sooooo good!” There was a classic rock compilation, a soul compilation, a CD by a very talented Mo’Fro, and more. We listened to them all weekend they were so good.

But that wasn’t everything. Mark hand-delivered to me two Christmas gifts: A Chuck Norris Facts calendar, with a different Chuck Norris Fact for each day. Freaking GREAT gift. I absolutely loved it. I’m looking at it right now. Today’s is: “Chuck Norris’ hand is the only hand that can beat a royal flush”. I remember looking at Chuck Norris facts years ago when it first came out, before it was actually endorsed by Chuck.

And finally, Mark gave me a box set of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” which we watched and I fell in love with for two reasons: 1) It’s hilarious. It’s like a live action version of Family Guy sometimes, and 2) It’s set in Philly, where I lived, and the whole show makes me nostalgic.

So Mark has really taken care of my entertainment needs for a while still, and I’d like to say thanks.

My friend Matt Prusak also deserves honorable mention for getting me the entire 3 seasons of Deadwood, a show that I absolutely LOVED, and which Matt was thoughtful enough to remember that I loved. Thanks Matt!

Now if only I could muster up something even coming CLOSE to that level of thoughtfulness.

At least I shy away from the coward’s Christmas resort: gift cards.

Well, most of the time I shy away.

šŸ˜‰

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