The worst gift ever

It's so easy to show you know, like, and trust someone. This wasn't it.

I write weekly about the strategies, habits, and tactics around cultivating the connections that matter to you.

Two weeks ago, I received the worst gift possible.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t the one you sent me.

An unexpected box with my name on it? Is it not more granola bars and fruit leather for my kids or a refill of dish detergent? Wait, it’s not even the outdoor tablecloth I spent an embarrassingly absurd amount of time picking out online?

Rising out of the ocean of packing peanuts that proceeded to magically grow legs and crawl into every corner of our entryway, emerged - a gift basket.

My heart sank. My brain instantly pattern-matched to my past comparables and assumed I had just received a bevy of “artisanal” snacks we’d never seek out ourselves. You tell me the last time you woke up one morning and were hankering for a cracker with “Rosemary, sea salt, and just a touch of olive oil.”

My assumption was wrong.

Not only was it filled with an assortment of stuff we’ll likely never eat - every item was glued to each other in 4-5 places. Not tape. Whatever service had overcharged for this cared more about it being Instagrammable on arrival. They clearly didn’t think I was going to spend 15 minutes rage-peeling the items apart, ripping the labels, and deforming the boxes.

This is me holding up a bag of single bag of potato chips, which is structurally supporting now-mangled boxes of crackers and two stale cookies (which I couldn’t even convince my son to eat).

Why am I being so cranky and convincing all of you that I’m an ungrateful jerk?

The barrier is so low to show you know, like, trust, and appreciate someone. All it has to be is meaningful, relevant, and authentic.

Yes, I’ve gone overboard before - helicopter rides, mariachi bands, your favorite band dedicating your favorite song to you. I rarely think that’s needed.

The next time you think about gifting someone $150 of pantry fillers - stick with Maya Angelou:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What does that look like?

  • Could it be a small contribution to a local charity (potentially one aligned with their interests) in their name?

  • A book that made a difference in your life, along with a quick note why?

  • A gift certificate to a new local restaurant?

And, remember, in our age of loneliness and disconnection - it might just be a heartfelt call that is the best gift for them.

Onward and upward,


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