The Gift is in the Giving: Secret Pals

It is especially easy this time of year to get caught up in the doldrums.   Between testing and all the rest of the end of year requirements, everyone feels done.   You can see it on people’s faces as they go through the halls. That’s why I was so excited that this morning was the Secret Pal’s Breakfast Reveal.

A small group of us gathered before school today with breakfast goodies and gifts to find out who had been our Secret Pal all year and to give our final gifts. At the start of the year we had filled out a survey listing things like what foods we liked, music we listened to, books we read, things we collected, classroom items we always needed. Our surveys were then put into a hat and we picked out a person. For the rest of the year, our job was to brighten that person’s day and make them feel special on the holidays.

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Some people go big on holidays; others go for the smaller, more frequent pick-me-ups. Your favorite candy might show up in your box one week, or you might find a playlist of songs you like left for you by the sign in the next week. As much as I absolutely enjoy getting things from my person, I find the best part of this experience is in the giving.

Over casseroles and donuts, coffee and cream we gave our last gifts. I never guess correctly who has been gifting me all year long, and I thought I had been very careful this year not to reveal myself. Turns out she knew it was me from very early on. Apparently nobody else enjoys writing puns as much as I do, and nobody comes in as early as I do to leave the gifts. I’ll have to work on being stealthier next year.

Because I will do this again next year. Putting thought into trying to brighten another person’s day makes my day brighter. Imagining someone laughing over my “Mr. Tea” pun while they drink the sweet tea I left for them makes me happy.   I remembered the joke she made about missing me over the summer, so I found a ridiculously old photo of myself and framed it for her.  When I think of it sitting on a shelf, I laugh out loud to myself. I finally got rid of all the country music I didn’t want anymore and got to think of somebody jamming out to them. Did she roll down the windows in her car and blare the music as she drove home? I imagined she did. I imagined she did and I felt better. The gift is in the giving and today the doldrums were kept at bay.

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