The Best Gifts Are Given All Year Long

December 26, 2022 Joanna Satterwhite

The best gifts don't come in prettily-wrapped packages. The best gifts aren't found under the tree. The best gifts are things we experience all year long.

A Tale of a Best Gift

Not long after the stroke of midnight the evening before last, I heard a bump in the night. I was dog-sitting, a business I have no business in, what with my hyperactive and macabre imagination, and as I slid out of bed and gripped the door handle with white knuckles, I braced myself for whatever was facing me. Maybe it was the Ghost of Christmas Future. 

There was no weapon in sight; like any good millennial, my phone was the only thing I kept on the bedside table. It'd have to do. I grabbed it, scrolling through my contacts for anyone that I thought might actually pick up at such an hour. I landed on my oldest brother and, with a racing heart and a silent prayer, listened as the phone rang. 

One of the Best Gifts Is the Ability to Phone a Friend During a Crisis

After several seconds that felt like several years, he clocked on.

"Hello?" he said.

"Stay on the phone," I answered in a voice raw with anxiety.

A horror film fanatic, my brother, immediately understood.

"They've got an alarm system, right? So it's probably not a murderer. Can't help you with anything supernatural, though."

He stayed on the line with me as I swept the house, alternately reassuring and scaring me more. We hung up some 10 minutes later, after I'd planted myself on the couch between the two dogs, clutching the phone in one hand and a comically scented candle in the other. 

I fell asleep like this and woke up at six, mostly unscathed, save for a crook in my neck. I had two missed calls and a handful of texts from my brother, asking me if everything had turned out alright. I texted him back that I'd survived the night, and as I stretched out my neck and brewed a cup of coffee. I meditated on how many gifts I'd already received so early on Christmas morning. 

The Gift Beyond Even the Best Gifts 

There are a million and one cliches about the true meaning of the holidays, but I'll add a few more. This time of year is frenetic. Even the noblest among us can lose sight of what's important amongst the bounty of tantalizing consumer goods and readily-available baked goods. Waking up safe, healthy, and warm to the concerned messages of someone who loves me enough to take even my irrational fears seriously reminded me of the splendor of what money can't buy. Words can't come close to how profound of a gift each morning that includes even one of these things is, let alone all of them. 

My family gathered for breakfast and presents at a more civilized hour later that morning. My brother was apologetic for his "impersonal" gifts to us: Tiger Balm, red wine, and scented candles. I hadn't done much better—I gifted everyone some (rather expensive) fish oil and a handwritten note—but looking around at the people who'd loved me so spectacularly my entire life, I thought we'd outdone ourselves. We always do.  

Tags: best gifts

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2022, December 26). The Best Gifts Are Given All Year Long, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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