My daughter certainly outdid herself this holiday.
When my hubbie and I were in college 27 years ago, we studied (and I use the term loosely) for the Fall semester at King Alfred’s College in Winchester, England, about an hour south of London. She just returned from almost the same experience, but she attended St Mary’s University College in Twickenham.
The week before she came home, she took a day trip to Winchester and saw where we lived for those months we still talk and reminisce about. She ate at our favorite pub, wandered around town, and took some pictures. But what she didn’t tell us was that she went into the King Alfred’s bookstore looking for some trinkets or memorabilia for us. She and the clerk started chatting and she told him her story, and it turned out to be a guy we went to school with there! Pictures and hilarity ensued and he showed her this book about the history of Winchester written by one of our professors! So she bought the book and went over to the college to try and track him down. People were scurrying around trying to find this guy so he could sign her book. Finally, they told her they couldn’t find him AND HE WALKED IN THE DOOR! He doesn’t teach there anymore but does occasional student advising. He’s rarely on campus anymore. So he signed her book, and more pictures and hilarity ensued.
Can you believe that?! She knew she couldn’t post any pictures on Facebook or say anything to any of us until we opened the gift on Christmas morning, so as she’s walking to the train station to leave Winchester she had to ask a lady for directions. Apparently it was complicated, so the lady just offered to walk her there. As they’re walking, my daughter, bursting at the seams to talk about her day, said, “Can I tell you something really fabulous and amazing?” And in that polite British way, the lady allowed her to tell the entire story. She agreed it was pretty amazing.
She also gave her 16-year-old brother his most thoughtful gift — probably ever! Before she even left for England in September, she took an old stuffed monkey of his. Then when she was out-and-about in her travels, she took a photo of the monkey at different landmarks and made a Monopoly board — sorry, Monkey-opoly board — for him out of the photographs. For the “Go To Gaol” space she got a security guard at the British Museum or somewhere to hold the monkey in one hand and pretend to send him to jail. For the “chance” spaces she put the monkey on the “Mamma Mia” sign in front of the theatre. He didn’t understand the connection, so she had to explain that one of the songs has the lyric “take a chance on me.” Which he didn’t REALLY get until he heard me play Abba’s Greatest Hits CD over and over and over and over and over and over … well, you get it … on Christmas.
We actually played Monkey-opoly the other night, but she realized she didn’t label the property squares. She didn’t think she needed to, but saw we had trouble figuring out whether we were buying and building hotels on St-Martins-in-the-Field or the National Portrait Gallery.
Very clever, my girl, but she’s really going to have to conjure up some magic next year to top this one! And, of course, she puts us all to shame.
What was your most thoughtful gift, given or received?