thoughts count

“Guess what today is??!” Jack excitedly asked as he came downstairs for breakfast.

“The day after Thanksgiving?” I ask back.

“Mahhmm!” he exhales. “How can you not know? It’s like a HUGE deal.”

“I don’t know,” I shrug. “What day is it?”

“It’s Black Friday!”

“Ohhh…” Did he seriously just say Black Friday – like it’s a holiday? Does he think it signifies something important? worth celebrating and commemorating?

“Yes – it’s finally here. Black Friday.”

He smiled and started to gather what he wanted to eat for breakfast. I guess he was preparing for the big day (as if we’ve ever said a word about it.)

Then he paused and thought for a moment, “What is Black Friday?”

He’s so funny. I guess he’s heard so much about all the hype and the deals on the radio and t.v., he thought it was another holiday. (Cue the laugh-cry emoji.) But it’s real. And it’s here. Our chance to make the most of all the great deals. To spend, spend, and spend.

So, for today’s #hydratefortheholidays, a quick tip on navigating deal driven purchase pressures: remember, it’s the thought that counts – really. Thoughtful consideration of the intended recipient’s likes/tastes/quirks can often trump the gift (thank goodness!) I watched it play out this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw something online that I just knew would rank as an all-time fav gift for Barton – a Lithograph t-shirt. It’s basically literature on a shirt. Since she LOVES reading, it seemed a special, off the beaten path no-brainer. So, I carefully perused the genres, authors, designs – and chose what was sure to be her favorite. Then I waited with excitement for the gift to arrive.

As promised, the package arrived last week. I grabbed it running out the door for carpool. so I could see how it turned out. I was even more excited. It wasn’t big, but it sure seemed to be custom made for her.

As I waited outside the high school for Barton, the package started calling out my name, “Don’t wait for Christmas. Give me to her now.” And since, among the many terrific genes my mom passed to me, I inherited the can’t-wait gene – I did. I gave it to her right there on the spot. Even amidst her protests, I made her open the mailer. I just couldn’t wait to see her surprise and happiness at the perfect gift.

“Oh…” she said, holding up the Lithograph t-shirt I just knew she would LOVE.


“It’s Sherlock Holmes,” I said smiling.

“Yesss…” she replied. “I can see that.”

“Oh – and all those tiny words… They’re right off the pages – verbatim.” I start to pull away from the curb. “Don’t you just LOVE it?!!”

“Well … “ her pause was enough.

“Oh my – “ I start to get catch on. “is it a little nerdy for school?”

“Well, a little.”

“A lot?”

“No, not a lot…” she replied. Then she smiled and put her hand on my shoulder. “Actually, I really love that you would get if for me. It might be a bit geeky, but you sure know what I love and even added a twist. It’s really sweet mom.”

Okay, so the shirt itself was a bust, but the thought behind it sent heart-fireworks that warmed her soul. She felt known, loved. Someone cares about her enough to try to find something in tune with her tastes – without her asking for it. Neither the price tag nor packaging mattered, it really was the thought that counted.

“It makes me think of my friend C,” she said when we were almost home. “She’s such a nice friend – like a real friend.”

“What makes a real friend,” I asked.

“Well, the other day at lunch she suggested that we have partners.”


“Yeah – partners to get each other their lunch. Go through the line and get what they think the person would most like to eat from that day’s menu. It was really cute. She started going around the table saying what she would get for everyone. When she came to L, she said she would get her a huge bowl of queso – with a straw. Which was hilarious. She had been listening the week before when L said the queso was so good she wanted to drink it.”

Barton smiled thinking about it. “She did it for everyone – saying exactly what she’d get for each person and getting it exactly right.”

Then she added, “Thanks for the shirt; it’s everything I love.”

L really wouldn’t want to drink a bowl of queso, but the fact that C had been listening meant the world to that kid. Especially in the ginormous cafeteria filled with kids not sure about whether they matter or are invisible or belong. Just like the shirt that initially missed it’s intended mark hit a much deeper heart mark.

I hope I remember couple the thoughtful with the deal for each of the folks who might be on the receiving end of Black Friday bargains.

Though a pile of great-deal stuff can be wonderful, it’s not how much we spend, but really is the thought that count. Being known is the gift.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


The rest of the story:

(Bonus) Barton actually loves the shirt. I wasn’t as off as I thought.The Lithographs shirt really is cute and more than one siblings hit me with the classic, “Why didn’t you get that for me?!” Apparently it’s geeky, but cool geeky – perfect for the avid reader in your life. AND, Lithographs, in an effort to promote literacy, partners “with the International Book Bank to send one new, high-quality book to a community in need for each poster, t-shirt and tote bag we sell.”]

The International Book Bank from Litographs on Vimeo.

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