When my son went off to college, I didn’t really think about the effect it would have on my social life. Turns out, it had a pretty huge effect. Our son’s activities in high school had put him in a close-knit group of guys whose parents all attended events together, and with whom we socialized regularly. Once the guys went off to college, we were suddenly party-less!
One of the moms had a great idea for a get-together. She invited us all to her house to assemble care packages for our boys. There were eleven women attending, so she asked us to think of something our boys would like to get, and bring eleven of them. She would supply the boxes, along with wine and appetizers.
When we arrived, we shared wine and appetizers while catching up with each other. We had a blast hearing the stories about each of the boys at school — and there were some good ones! Then we set to work packing the boxes. It was fun to see what each mom had brought. Our care package ideas included: energy bars, snacks, microwave meals, drink mixes, toiletries, socks, room freshener, highlighters and school supplies. We then filled a sheet of stationery with messages from each of us, and made eleven copies to enclose in the boxes. The next day we brought them all to the post office.
Was the party a success? I can speak for the moms when I say we all had a wonderful time. It was especially fun packing the boxes and imagining the boys’ faces when they opened them. As for the boys, my son was surprised and very appreciative. He said his favorite thing in the box was the argyle socks. That was a surprise to me!
One of our team members recently experienced a scare. His sister was seriously injured in a car accident and hospitalized for several weeks. His family spent hours at her bedside, while friends and relatives sent flowers, gifts, good wishes, and offered their support in many ways.
During one of those many hours of vigil, it occurred to him that his family would probably want to send thank you notes to many of the people who had helped them. “If this hadn’t happened to us,” he said, “it would never have occurred to me to give note cards as a gift to a family struggling with illness or injury. But that would have been an incredibly thoughtful and useful gift.” Not only could they have used them, but it would have given them something to do, other than worry, while waiting in the hospital!
We all struggle with finding the right gift or the right thing to say when a friend needs our support. That’s why this has become one of our favorite thinking-of-you gift ideas. If the thought of giving thank you notes seems too presumptuous, blank note cards will be just as appreciated and are more versatile. (Most of Pear Tree’s thank you notes, or personalized note cards can be ordered blank, without any message on the front, if that’s the way you’d like them.) As this family’s story taught us, you never know when you might need them.
The most thoughtful gift ideas are the ones with a personal touch, the ones that say, “I thought about you, and I know you’ll love this!” What’s more personal than personalized stationery? It’s a gift that only they can use, chosen with care and imprinted with their name or initials.
If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating, not to mention family tensions, and lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.
My son left for college at the end of August and left a big hole in our family. I don’t miss his messy room or dirty socks, but I do miss our conversations and being in touch with what’s going on in his daily life.
He doesn’t seem to miss me much, if the number of times he’s contacted us is any indication. I know he’s having a great time and is busy with new experiences. Like all moms, I want him to be happy and make friends, but to know that if he’s sad or lonely or just having a bad day, we are still here for him.