When the Thought Really Counts

I'm a woman of simple tastes. I like nice things, and there are some truly nice things in this world.

Rolls Royce Corniches are nice. I'd like one in cream color, with a cream top and a perfect tobacco glove leather interior.

Houses are nice things. I think I'd like to have one high on a cliff somewhere, overlooking my own private stretch of beach. I don't want to be ostentatious--a twenty or thirty-room cabana would do.

And there's really nothing like a Faberge egg, all studded with rubies and emeralds, sparkling in the light from the candles at an intimate dinner for two, or from a Hanukkah Menorah.

But though these things would be lovely to have, they do not make the most wonderful gifts.


The best gifts are extravagant in feeling.

The best gifts are often simple.

For the second night of Chanukkah, my boyfriend gave me a plant. It is one of the best presents I have ever gotten.

But if anyone else had given me any other plant, it would have meant almost nothing. I'm not particularly a plant fan. It's the story behind the gift that makes it special.

For about a week after the opening of a new florist near Quincy House, I admired a plant in the window. It was little--modest, even--but lush in a way, and I wanted it for my room.

Then I found out how much it cost, and did the quick mental calculation that it was about equal to the cost of two or three large pizzas. That, I think, is a lot of dough for a fern.

I never told my boyfriend about it.

But a friend of his saw me walk out of the store. And a week later, he gave me the little plant, all wrapped in tissue and cellophane and copper twine made of stars.

There is a flip side to gift-giving, however. The worst presents show how little you know or care or bothered to think about the person the gift is for.

Every year, my grandmother sends my sister a bracelet. We don't know why. My sister never wears bracelets.