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These stories prove it really is the thought that counts

Publisher, editor-in-chief and author at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Some of the best Christmas gifts are the ones that remind you that you are loved, even if they backfire a bit at first.

Radio personality Mike Morin wrote a great story for us, called "It's the Thought that Counts," about the time he thought he was right on target with a gift for his fiancee Barbara. Mike and Barbara had agreed to forego presents that year because they were renovating their kitchen, but three days before Christmas, when Mike saw mysterious boxes arriving via UPS, he realized he was in trouble. After he heard a radio ad for pajamas that could be delivered in time for Christmas, he found the perfect solution for Barbara, a registered nurse: "Oh-So-Soft Lavender Pin Dot Nursing Pajamas." He had no idea why his daughter and Barbara were so amused on Christmas Day as they examined the chest flaps that opened and closed on the front of the pajama shirt.

I couldn't stop laughing when I read "Home Invasion" by Monika LaPlante. In the wee hours of Christmas morning, Monika was awakened by "hoarse, terrified whispers" from her sister across the hall: "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Who are you?" Monika froze in horror when she too saw "a blurry and dark figure, feet from my bed." The intruders were in her room too! Monika jammed on her glasses and turned on her light, only to find a cardboard cutout of teen heartthrob Edward Cullen at the foot of her bed. A cutout of singer Justin Bieber was in her sister's room. They were Christmas presents from their parents.

Lisa Peters was stunned when she spotted "a large box wrapped with beautiful holiday paper" under the tree. Her husband rarely paid attention to her hints about gifts, but this box looked promising. So she was disappointed when she opened the box Christmas morning and found a colander. She reported in her story, "Bright and Shiny," that her husband said, "I know you need one, and this one looks so pretty." Lisa said, "It was then that I realized how fortunate I am to have this wonderful man in my life. He does not place value on material things. He knows just what I need, whether it is a long hug, some straightforward advice or just a single comment that breaks my tense mood and makes me laugh. By embracing the beauty of this simple colander, he made me realize that he is the perfect husband for me."

I agree with Lisa. And besides, the real fun during the holiday season is in the giving, not the receiving, right? That’s what gets me excited about Christmas morning.

The thoughts count in this story by Tom Knight, "No Hostess Gifts Please" from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic.

Image: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Sheknows
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