One gift lasts forever and is custom-fit

I’ll never forget the year I gave steak knives to vegetarians.

Have you ever given a gift that you felt great about only to find you had missed the mark? Maybe they took it back, never wore it or suddenly developed an allergy. What about gifts received?

Some of the oddball gifts I have received are five years worth of ceramic dolls for my “collection.” I never wanted dolls past the age of 7. A very loving person decided I had a collection and added to it every year. I finally said something because one of the dolls scared me. It was musical, had a ceramic face and a very odd body. Sometimes I would walk into a room and it would tilt its head and start playing its creepy song. I didn’t even touch it!

An opportunity to say something came one year when my doll collector initiator hinted that I might like another doll this year. I smiled and said, “Oh, thank you so much, but I really feel like my collection is complete.” Now this was hard to do, but I was already avoiding the spare bedroom with the possessed doll in it, and I had no more room to display any new doll friends. Who knows, this new one might even have formed a gang.

Years later, I was able to part with the collection at a garage sale. The kicker was the person who bought these for me happened to stop by the sale. I felt like a real heal. I don’t know if I felt worse selling the scary doll in front of the gifter, or selling the doll to the poor unsuspecting receiver. I imagined the man probably had a sweet little girl at home who would now have nightmares.

I swear I loved the black cashmere sweater the doll collector person gave me the next year. Only problem was, I accidentally shrunk it in the wash. I couldn’t wear it. She probably thought I just didn’t like it. I think she gave me cash after that.

I’ve made my share of mistakes in gifting. Problem is, I can’t share about it because the receivers have been more polite than I. I don’t know all the details, but they sure do. Sorry! Steak knives might work for avocados and melons, right? Well, there was the time I gave chocolates to the person with the chocolate allergy.

Speaking of chocolate, a lot of times we give gifts we would like to have. I have received some really nice toys, stuffed animals and “Star Wars” items from our children. I’m waiting for the day my husband gives me a weed wacker.

The best gift my husband ever gave me was a beautiful necklace for one of our anniversaries. We were at Snoqualmie Lodge and out came a little jewelry box. I’m not a jewelry person, but he had been sweet and sneaky and passed this one by me. I pictured him at the jewelry store searching for just the right one just for me. He probably told me he was out getting a weed wacker at Home Depot.

I remember giving the doll person a special gift. My feet were swollen at the end of that shopping day. I know she was still using this item 10 years later. It looked so worn, so loved.

When we think of Christmas, we tend to think of shopping for gifts. I admit, I often forget what the true gift of Christmas really is: God sending his son, Jesus, to die on the cross to save us from all of our junky sin.

I wonder how he feels in response to the way we have received his gift. Some have left it unopened, given it back or felt aversion toward it. Others have received it and then turned away. Many have taken it, wrapped it around them like cashmere with joy and a look of pure bliss, receiving a gift that loves them back.

This Christmas, it may not snow, but when you look out your window at the crunchy white grass of winter or when you see the gifts under the tree, think of another kind of present. Unlike scary ceramic dolls or cashmere that shrinks, this gift from Jesus lasts forever and is custom-fit for you. And it sure does beat the heck out of using steak knives for fruit.

Cindy Jury is a freelance writer and a ministry leader at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Federal Way. She welcomes feedback at

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