It’s the Thought That Counts

Gifts That Money Can’t Buy

By Jeff Salter

This week, we’re talking about the favorite gifts we’ve given to others. When I think of this topic, I often come to that O. Henry story in which the poor young husband sells his heirloom watch to buy a comb for his lovely wife to use on her long, beautiful hair. And — also having no money — the wife cuts her hair and sells it to buy a chain for her husband’s treasured watch. Neither of them can now UTILIZE either gift, but each gave sacrificially to honor and please the other. It’s a touching story — sweet to see how much they loved each other… but sad to see that each sacrificed what they loved.

Well, I ain’t cuttin’ my hair… and my wristwatch don’t need no chains.


“A Trip on a Ship Can be Hip, if You Don’t Give Any Lip”

I think my favorite (outgoing) gifts have been the “books” I’ve created for several family members. Here are some examples:

For one of my wife’s milestone birthdays, I put together – with my daughter’s help – a photo album with colorful captions. It was before the scrapbooking craze and before we had access to computers — so it was typed directly onto thick pages and the photos were cropped and pasted into place.

For my son’s 21st birthday, I created something similar, though with completely different pictures, of course. As with the one for my wife, the focus was on a humorous framework for each photo.

For my daughter’s 18th birthday, I looked 32 years into the future, when she would be 50 and I would be 75 — and I wrote a sort of “biography” of her life to that point. A lot of it has come true, except she is not yet the Secretary of the Treasury… and she did NOT marry Joey McIntyre of the NKOTB.

For my dad’s 70th (or maybe 75th) birthday, I made a booklet similar to what I’d done for my wife and son — except this one used clip art and the wondrous production capabilities of the (now old) PageMaker software.

After the Caribbean Cruise – which my whole family went on… as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law – in 1998, I put together a commemorative booklet entitled, “A Trip on a Ship Can be Hip, if You Don’t Give Any Lip.” I made copies as gifts for the in-laws.

I’m sure there have been other examples. All were fun to do, but each took a LOT of work, time, and planning. I had nearly forgotten about these “book” gifts… until one of the Foxes posted earlier this week about some creative productions of her own.


What has been one (or some) of your favorite outgoing gifts?

[JLS # 361]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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9 Responses to It’s the Thought That Counts

  1. Gastradamus says:

    Is it the thought that counts. Interesting post. Merry Christmas. Would love your thoughts on my new short called The Writers Block. Hope to see you there

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love the idea of the books you made, (and the books themselves)! Good job!
    As for “THE Gift of the Magi” (O. Henry’ s story), it always upset me because it is really so unbalanced. Think about it: the wife’s hair was going to grow back, but his father’s watch is gone forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jbrayweber says:

    I love your thoughtful gifts, Jeff. I’ve made entire scrapbooks for family members for special occasions. I’ve also make Disney ABC books for my girls when they were younger, drawing and coloring the characters by hand. It was a lot of fun, lent to my creative streak, and my girls cherish them.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I bet your gifts have been treasured by their recipients! I also have done a few books like that and one ended up being a gift I gave to myself!
    Let me explain- My parents were able to travel with us each Thanksgiving to the Caribbean for a week of family fun and celebration for several years. When it became obvious they couldn’t do that anymore- I made a book of all of our trips and had the kids write poems, draw pictures, and write letters to their grandparents about the trips. It was a HUGE hit with the folks! Fast forward about 8 years and my mom passed away. My papa gave the book back to me and it is one of my most cherished things I have.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I love giving scrapbooks and digital photo books as gifts. For my parents’ 40th Anniversary, I made a scrapbook for them, and they loved it. For their 50th I made extra pages to add to it, since their six granddaughters had grown quite a bit during those ten years.

    Liked by 1 person

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