Three Things I Have To Say About Gifts

February 15, 2016

With Valentine’s Day yesterday I have gifts on the brain. First of all I loooooove gifts. I love to receive, obviously, but I really, truly, madly, deeply love to give gifts. For me it doesn’t matter so much what the gift is—it is about the giving/receiving of a token of affection. A gift is a way to say, “this is how I feel about you”, and all of their various shapes/sizes/values/sentiments reflect the relationship between two people. John and I did gifts for V-Day and I happened to receive my February Birchbox the next day. Double presents!!!

This is what went down last week, leading up to Valentine’s Day:

In our home surprises don’t last long. If I know gift giving is afoot I guess every possibility until, inevitably, I find out. I don’t mind! In fact this part is my favorite because its like a fun game of “Let’s See How Well John Knows and Loves Me!” This also works two ways because when I get a gift for John I can’t wait. HE. MUST. OPEN. IT! So he can see how much I love him of course.

This year I had something in mind that I could not justify buying for myself, so I made John acutely aware of how important it was. Point One of this Post: It’s Okay to Know What Your Gift Will Be! Typically when I ask John for something specific I agonize for days/weeks. Did he remember? Did he take me seriously? Did he remember how long it takes Amazon to ship to us??? I asked for Garance Doré’s new book Love Style Life (more on her tomorrow!) and I just could not see a version of the future where we were not together. I could not care less about the lack of mystery—besides gift giving can be stressful for John when he has no ideas. This way I get what I really, really, really, really, really, really want, and John gets to make me happy (which makes him happy)!

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On Tuesday, the ninth, there was a booming knock at the door and I experienced a minor cardiac event (I do not receive uninvited guests, ever). I ran to the door and was surprised to find a package address to John from Amazon (There’s the surprise! See, I’m so surprised!). In this house your mail is my mail so I shredded the box with my bare hands only to realize just in time that this might be John coming through (still more surprise! And amazement! And a fluttering feeling in my heart because, he DOES love me!)!!! Too late. I pulled the item out and… IT WAS WRAPPED! He is a genius sometimes. Really, who cares that I knew what the package contained when my man found a way to keep a little mystery alive AND show me how well he knows my habits! What a guy!

With this gift just winking at me all day from the kitchen counter, and my present to John burning a hole through the top of my desk it was only a matter of time. I had already asked John about a dozen times if he wanted to open his gift since I bought it. We went on our usual Tuesday night movie date and it was such a wonderful evening that I knew the moment was right! Point Two: Who Cares When You Open the Present, if the Moment is Right? We simply had to get in bed and open our presents together by lamplight, and then hug and kiss while the credits roll (because we live in a Rom-Com)! He didn’t even put up a fight!

We sat on the bed and I made John tell me every single detail of his journey in procuring the book: How much was it? When did you order it? It must have been right away because Amazon is so slow! How did you have it wrapped? Did they ask you, or did you request it? Why did you have it wrapped? Because you knew I would open it? Have you read it? Have you read about it? Do you know why I wanted it so bad? I mean, if it is what I think it is, because I don’t know, it’s a surprise! John opened his first—an adorable little “Carry On” cocktail making kit for our trip to Chicago in the spring—and then I ripped open mine, finding what I knew I would.

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My life is so damn good. This was so special because we seized the opportunity to share a sweet, private moment in our relationship rather than play into the commercial Valentine experience. We always celebrate a little off of the traditional schedule with holidays and special occasions anyway because sometimes the day comes around and it is just a big disappointment. Here we were free from grandiose expectations of what “Valentine’s Day” needed to look like, no pressure to live up to an image, just us seizing the opportunity to enjoy each other. We chose to celebrate when the moment was ripe, when we were happy, connected, and open to each other.

The icing on top of this wonderful pre-Valentine cake was waking up the next day (what spectacular timing!) to find my Birchbox in the mail! Which is my Third Point: Give the Gift That Keeps on Giving! My fabulous friend Mia gave me a Birchbox subscription for my birthday in October, and even though she is not hand picking each item, I get a new present in the mail every month for six months! I love giving gifts the conventional way, but sometimes you know someone well enough to know that what they really want is a personalized box of beauty goodies to surprise them month after month! Sign me up (again)!

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By Courtney

Author of PrettyRX, a lifestyle blog.


  1. Reply

    Sarah Stillman

    This one was fun! I can appreciate the “doing Valentine’s Day” differently. Christian and I have done that ever since we started dating, initially because of his crazy work schedule and then because we realized it has helped us connect and appreciate each other in a different way. It’s become our own little tradition and I love it and the way it makes me feel. Thanks for the candidness of your posts and letting me into a window of your life.

    Also, tell me more about Birchbox!

    1. Reply


      Yeah! You can go to and its basically a beauty products store/site but you can sign up (or sign your friend up) for a little box of samples that come in the mail every month. You answer questions about your style and they send you hair/skin/makeup/body products you might like.

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