I know it is not good to brag about oneself, but let me just say I can be a great present giver. In fact, a few years ago my brother claimed I was a bad present giver and I made sure to give him the best present ever- nice strategy Ben! Maybe it is because I don’t have that many presents to give, being single, but I treat it as kind of a game to win or lose at. My dad was always a hard one to buy presents for (and still is) and so I learned to probe deep for ideas and to try to give from the heart. I have a long track record of giving the best bridal and baby shower gifts- including the longest ahhh! at all of the baby showers I attend (trust me, if you are having a baby then you want me at your shower!).
This last month I was faced with a gift giving dilemma. What to get my about to go to college sister Anna. She and I are very similar, and she is coming out here to BYU (my Alma mater!). Naturally, a number of possible gifts such as gift certificates to the theater or a cookbook came to mind. I also thought of things for her apartment, to help study, or a keyboard practice music on. All of these gifts would have been fine, but I wanted something more personal. As is natural, she has been somewhat stressed-out about the beginning of college (even though I know she will do amazingly well). It is a big change, and as I very well know big changes are scary. It means saying goodbye to some family, her high school friends and California. (although, she pretends like she is dying which is not true either. What drama!) I began to think- what could I give her that might be comforting and provide real guidance? Then it came to me- a survival book, full of the advice I would have wanted when I was in college!
I gathered materials and made the book out of 5 by 7 scrapbooking cardstock and then printed out all kinds of quotes, study tips, Provo restaurant recommendations, coupons for meals/rides/clean room, suggestions such as attending BYU athletics and more. It ended up being 24 laminated pages with a binding and stickers as illustrations. Of course, I ended the book with a letter of congratulations and encouragement. She’s such an awesome sister, and I feel privileged to know her. In many ways she makes me feel complete and understood in my family- something I often didn’t always feel while growing up (does any teenager?). I love chatting with her, getting excited about David Archuleta, singing our favorite Broadway songs and giggling over the Office, Glee or some other show. I am so grateful for all she does for me, and I hope my little present actually helps increase her happiness while at school and provide real concrete guidance when she struggles. It will be like having her big sister in her pocket whenever she need’s it. (Of course, I will be here in real life as well- just around the corner- despensing hugs, laughs and sister-filled fun). Good luck!