A college girl came up to me several years ago, saying that she was struggling with respecting her parents. I told her that I would pray for her during the week, we’d both think of practical ways to cultivate respect for her (wonderful) parents, and talk about them later.
I don’t remember my idea. Hers was great.
She bought two notebooks, one for her father, one for her mother, and without them knowing, she wrote them a thank you note every time they did something for her. It could be as little as her mother hand-washing a sweater for her, or as big as her dad paying for her next year’s tuition. That was in February; the next Christmas, no longer struggling with respect, she gave them the books as gifts. They had become records of their love for her over months and months, and of her gratitude for them.
Taking her idea, I made a “thank-you book” for my mother, with one thing I was thankful for that she did on each page. They ranged from thanks for decades of prayer to letting me eat all of my birthday candy in one sitting.
My mother took the idea, and for my grandfather’s eightieth birthday, she had each grandchild send her two to four things they were thankful for about Opa. She wrote them all down in a book and gave it to him.
If you’re trying to figure out a last minute gift idea, this one is beautiful for parents, grandparents, close friends, or a spouse. And it’s one that won’t get re-gifted.