It’s the expression of love, not gift, that counts | Ask Erin

Standing on his tiptoes to see over the high counter, the young boy asked me to wrap his gift in the fanciest paper.

"It's for my mom," he said as he slid the bag toward me. “Make sure to take off the prices. I don't want her to know how much I spent."

Inside I found a pair of plain Gold Toe dress socks and a gaudy cubic zirconia necklace.

It was a necklace only a Trump could love — if only it was real.

I could imagine the scene leading up to our encounter: The boy wanted to buy his mother a Christmas gift. His mother, kindly keeping his budget in mind, told him she wanted nothing more than a new pair of socks.

The boy went to the mall to fulfill her wish, but happened to take a detour by the costume jewelry department.

The sparkling jewels were too much for him to resist. He wanted his mother to shine.

Back at the gift-wrapping counter, the contrast between the socks and the necklace was almost comical. And, of course, he wanted them wrapped together in the biggest possible box.

The store’s complementary gift-wrap was gray with your choice of ribbon.

But I was pulling out the stops for this young lad.

Instead of using the dull paper, I wrapped his gift in the expensive glittery gold paper, topped with a giant gold bow and faux greenery.

Of course, I wasn't going to charge him.

He oversaw the entire process, giving me suggestions on additional ribbon and accoutrements.

That Christmas morning, I thought about the boy and his mom — the pride he must have felt giving her his prized gift. And the joy and surprise she experienced upon opening his gift.

I hoped she showered him with kisses and told him it was the most exquisite necklace she had ever seen.

I hoped she immediately wore the necklace and didn't take it off.

I hoped she showed it off at Christmas dinner, for her extended family and friends to see.

Chances are, you won’t receive such a necklace this Christmas. (This happened years ago; surely, the company no longer makes such jewelry.)

But this Christmas, you may find yourself unwrapping a gift that takes your breath away — not for the gift inside, but rather for the love the gift represents.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or e-mail



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