The Promise of Gift Giving



It was January 29, 2001, the one month anniversary of our first date (when you’re in love you celebrate those things).

I took my soon to be fiancee, and eventually wife, to a concert I knew she would love and should confirm for her that she had the same feelings I did.  It was Billy Joel & Elton John.  We were about row 10, incredible seats, my ego sky high.

Before the concert I said that I had a gift for her.  Reaching around the seat I revealed the present that would go on to live in infamy until this day.  A Tiffany & Co. crystal bowl box, elegant, radiant, stunning, with a perfect bow on top.

She began to cry.  I asked her why she was crying.  She said, “No one’s ever bought me a Tiffany & Co. crystal before”, and she wrapped her arms around me.

My face went flush.

And then she opened the box.

Yes folks, silly me, trying to be cute, I had used the only box I could find in my parent’s house that was big enough to fit the incredible gift: a slab of concrete I had found at a construction site.

You see, I was trying to be thoughtful, because she had said she liked the smell of cement after it rained.  So I got her a slab of concrete with the intention of pouring water on it so we could enjoy the smell.

(If you’ve ever had a greater backfire story to a gift please let me know, because everyone we tell this story to, it seems to be the topper) 

I tried to explain, after she stopped crying, that I hadn’t thought for one second it would be a bad idea to put this concrete piece in a Tiffany box, I just figured it would be something she’d love because she said so nonchalantly that she loved that smell after rain, and I had taken note.

I certainly chose the wrong kind of rock to put in that box.

Well, this woman learned early on in our dating that I think very abstractly, and often can be very disappointing even in my attempts at being romantic, or even funny, but luckily for me she saw through all of that and somehow fell in love anyway, still married me, is still here (Thank the Good Lord).

I admit this story to you only because this is the time of year we work very hard with our gift giving.

My point isn’t that you should put some rocks in a box intended for better rocks, it’s that most of the time the old adage “It’s the thought that counts” really is a true statement.

A Stanford GSB study shows: “When it comes to putting out money for gifts, less may well be more.  Where givers expect that more expensive gifts would make the recipients feel significantly higher levels of appreciation, in contrast the recipients said they did not feel greater appreciation levels for gifts that had cost more.”  Full Article HERE

So, my fellow business owners, this year don’t feel so overwhelmed as to what to gift your clients and customers, just send something thoughtful, doesn’t have to be expensive.  Same with your employees and co-workers, just do anything really and it’s enough.  It’s the promise of doing something!

When it comes to wrapping presents for the kids, the spouse or partner, give the gift you know will move the needle of their gratitude for your thoughtfulness, not just a hopefulness for them to appreciate one expensive gift over another.

And men, last piece of advice: NEVER use a Tiffany box to wrap a slab of concrete.  Do something, just don’t do something stupid!


At the SLC Billy Joel Concert with my Tami on November 29, 2017


~ jason

Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration.  Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys.  He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite.

Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.


Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

6 thoughts on “The Promise of Gift Giving”

  1. Dearest misguided friend, Jason.

    You are right — and wrong. You are right, your abstract thought was a most thoughtful thought. It said “I care. I’m listening.” It’s a great gift. Except for her tears. Crap.

    The rock was just right — just the box was wrong.

    Good thing she has the heart to pick a man with a great heart – and who knows how to listen (you just don’t know how to wrap presents).

    Happy anniversary to you both.

  2. Thanks for brightening my day! I admire your thoughtfulness, just not your choice or timing for giving that particular gift. Knowing you did what you did gives me a case of the grins.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Tweet