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The Write Gift: How to Make a Gift They'll Treasure

Copyright (c) 2008-2019

It’s that time of year again—the holiday shopping season. In a perfect world, a gift indicates how much we value a relationship. Instead, it may demonstrate how little we know someone. When our son was two, we bought him a pile of presents for Christmas. He opened one—an alphabet puzzle—and played happily with it for two hours. After asking about his interest in the teetering pile of wrapped gifts—none—we piled them in a laundry basket and stored them in the basement for another day. Had we thought more about our son and his need for simplicity and order instead of our need to shower him with gifts, we could have had a more sane holiday season. We would not have spent money or time on all that shopping and wrapping.

Since that Christmas, I’ve questioned the value of giving presents to anyone. Most of us are flooded with stuff. Adding one more thing to the pile seems silly, unless we know what kind of stuff someone needs, wants, or loves. Many of us face an additional dilemma this year—we don’t have the money to purchase gifts.

Maybe it’s time for the write gift—a present that we make with some paper, time, and our imagination. The write gifts can be created quickly and without a lot of expense. Because they are made to suit the recipient, they are guaranteed to be a hit. Take an afternoon or two to create the write gift for a friend or family member.

The Gift Box

Several years ago, my best friend from college gave me a gift box stuffed full of folded slips of paper. Each piece of paper held a memory of our college days, a quote, or words of encouragement. The gift box still sits on my bookshelf. Once a year, I take it down and read through the slips. Her gift never fails to inspire and encourage me. You can do the same for someone you love. Here’s how:

  • Purchase or find a small box. You can purchase inexpensive wood boxes at craft or home goods stores. You might also be able to find an old notions or jewelry box in your home.

  • Gather paper and pens. Cut up stationary or sturdy 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper into squares that will fit into your box. You could also use small index cards or old playing cards. Then choose an appropriate pen. Depending on the style of box, paper, and message, you may want to write everything in black pen or use different colored markers.

  • Choose a category and write! Share quotes, ideas, or questions from one or more of the following categories: memories, encouragement, inspiration, creativity starters, and prayers. But don’t let these categories limit you! Use your creativity to come up with other ideas. A friend created a rainy-day gift for a family by putting together a box filled with ideas of things to do inside with young children. An exercise coach might make a gift box filled with fun exercise ideas for her clients. Let your imagination go wild.

  • The Journal

    One year, I made my husband a journal of encouragement. I filled it with stories of my favorite memories, traits I love about him, and inspiring quotes. I used rubber stamps to help fill the blank spaces. I read about one family who wrote questions in a journal for their grandparents. The questions asked for stories and information. A year later they received the same journal from their grandparents—and it was filled with their personal, memorable stories. What could you do with a small, blank journal? Here are some ideas:

  • Begin by deciding the type of book you want to write. You can use one or more of the categories from the gift box section above to put together a gift journal. You could also write a how-to book. Give new parents the “Seven Secrets for Raising Perfect Children.” Include parenting proverbs, jokes, and some handy tips from your own experience.

  • Map out the general structure of your book on scratch paper, including the categories you’ve chosen and how they will appear in the book. Let’s say you’ve decided to make a journal to help a friend start journaling. You want to include quotes about journaling and writing exercises and questions to get her started. When you organize the book, you might randomly choose from each category or set up a more orderly rotation between the three. Next, decide how many entries in each category you’ll include and how many blank pages you’ll have between your entries. This will help you choose the size and type of journal you want.

  • Choose materials. If you are making a book with relatively little text, you’ll want to use an already-made journal. If you want to add art to the book—photos or collages, choose a blank journal or a scrapbook. If you are making a text-heavy book—perhaps a collection of childhood memories or a recipe book, use your computer to create the text. Once you print your pages, you can have an office store bind them in several affordable ways or simply purchase a three ring binder.

  • The Wall Hanging

    This year I helped a group of teens create a one-of-a-kind wall hanging for a mentor. We created a “She is” poem for a who had taught the teens about books and gardening. I gave the teens three categories and asked them to find words for each: describe this woman on the outside (brown-eyed); the inside (exuberant); and find words that name her roles (daughter, mentor). We spent an hour brainstorming and searching the thesaurus—writing down our favorite words from each category. When we were done, the young people scribed the poem into this format:

    She is . . . words that describe the outside.

    She is . . . words that describe the inside.

    She is . . . words that name roles.

    She is NAME.

    To make the wall hanging, we used student-grade stretched cotton canvas prepared with Gesso. On that, the young people wrote the poem with multi-colored acrylic paint pens. The whole project cost less than $25 to put together.

    The Gift Certificate Book

    As children, we used to make stacks of gift certificates and hand them out to our parents and grandparents. Think about the free services you could offer a spouse, child, or parent and put together your stack of gift certificates. Your services might include: make cookies together, play a game, a back rub, or even a hug. This is a quick and easy gift that brings fun for the rest of the year!


    If writing a gift box or a book seems too difficult, write a thank you letter to someone you love. In it, mention all of the qualities you appreciate about the person and end with a statement of gratitude for his or her presence in your life.

    In the end, your family and friends remember the gifts that express you and your feelings for them. That’s why creating and giving the write gift can never fail. Try it and see!

    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Right Now! Coach Rochelle Melander supports people in writing to transform their lives and businesses. If you're ready to establish credibility, make more money, and market your work by writing a book, blog, or Web site, get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at

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