Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Welcome dear readers! It’s Friday again. Wow, time flies when you’re spending your life in the dojo.

Last week I asked you to write about the greatest gift you’ve ever given. This time I want you to write about the greatest gift you’ve ever received.

I’ve been lucky enough to receive many thoughtful, heartfelt gifts over the years. Choosing just one to write about is very difficult, but I know I can always write about another next year.

My first Christmas with The Boy was last year. He went completely overboard in the gift department…I swear that he remembered every little off-hand comment I’d made throughout the year and nearly killed himself trying to locate whatever I’d mentioned. He went as far as tracking down a very rare soda pop that is only available in Newfoundland. It was crazy!

The most incredible gift, though–if I can pick just one–was something I’d seen on our third date. We went to an art show at a small local gallery, and while there wasn’t much there, one piece caught my eye. It was a striking pencil portrait of a young Jamaican boy. There was something about the expression on the boy’s face that really got to me. It was a beautiful piece of work, and so of course I told Chris that it was my favorite piece, but I certainly never expected to see it again. To me, art shows are about admiring the work and discussing it…rarely ever buying.

So I nearly cried when Chris gave me that framed original for Christmas almost a year later. I’d nearly forgotten all about it. But that wasn’t what made the gift so special.

While he was wrapping it, Chris realized that the name of the artist sounded familiar. He wracked his brain, trying to remember where he’d heard that name before, and sure enough–the artist had the same name as a customer Chris was dealing with at work. The Boy emailed this customer to ask if he had created the drawing, and it turned out the customer and the artist were one and the same. Chris explained that his girlfriend had greatly loved the piece, and the artist was overwhelmed–this was his greatest work of art, and the only piece he’d ever sold.

The most precious piece of this gift, for me, was the letter from the artist saying how happy he was that his work was going to someone who loved it. He enclosed a print of the original photo he’d used to create the drawing.

It’s those incredible coincidences that remind us just how amazing life is.

How about you, dear readers? What was your favorite gift?

Have an awesome weekend!

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Lisa

    I think my favourite gift dates back to 1989 when I was dating a guy here in Winnipeg. He had just gone back to University and money was tight for both of us. (I was only making $800/month) We agreed that we would not spend a lot of money on Christmas gifts. When it came time for Christmas and I opened up his gift I was so touched because he had gone to the University of Manitoba darkroom (he was a member of the photography club) and enlarged a photograph he had taken the previous summer when we had gone on a wonderful three day canoe trip in North Western Ontario. The black and white photograph was of a submerged dock that sat in a peaceful bay at the top of a portage into a remote lake. He had framed it in one of those glass clip frames with a dark grey mat. With the photograph he also gave me a pair of hand-knit gloves from Nepal. An artisan had set up in University Centre and was selling these gloves that she had knit from wool remnants. They were two sizes too big, gawdy colourful and hilariously fun to wear!

    I still have the photograph and it’s still framed in the glass clip frame. But I may have worn out the gloves;0) That gift always meant more to me than the expensive wood-handled Henkels carving knife he gave me the year before (which I also still have and is the main knife in my house).

  2. kungfusinger

    The greatest gift I ever received was a Christmas tree. My family loves Christmas and we decorate the whole house and we decorate early. The first year I lived with my Ex we lived in a small apartment. He used the size of the unit as an excuse for not getting a tree.

    My brother thought this was absolutely ludicrous. He got together a bunch of old coat hangers, some silver tinsel garland and a string of mini lights and made me a tree. He even cut out a star from yellow construction paper and glued it to the top. It was about one foot tall and 8″ wide. Not much to look at, but when I plugged it in, the little apartment felt like home and looked like Christmas.

    That little tree helped me to remember that some things in life are not worth compromising. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big, but a symbol is a symbol. A tree is a symbol of the Christmas season as surely as a ring is a symbol of a marriage. If it is an important symbol, then you cannot put it aside for someone else’s sake.

  3. Angela

    That’s a no-brainer! It was my birthday. We were dating for about a year. I was living in the Interlake, north of Gimli and Jerome showed up with the Westfalia full of perennials! Hundreds of lilies, hollyhocks, irises, daisies, etc. He spent the whole weekend designing, digging and planting a huge beautiful garden. When ever I refer to that garden, I still call it my birthday garden!

  4. Laura Best

    I couldn’t even begin to top a story like that one Holli or even come close to matching it! How wonderful. It gave me a warm feeling as I was reading it and I’m still smiling. 🙂


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