Gratitude for Gifts


Gifts may seem a very materialistic focus for our gratitude, but are they really? What we’re thanking the giver for, is their time and thoughtfulness in choosing something they think we’ll like or need. Quite often a gift may have an ordinary cash value, but an extraordinary emotional value simply because the person has found something that truly speaks to you. So for every gift you receive, gratitude is the appropriate response.

My favourite childhood (and later!) gifts were books, some of which are still on my shelves with the gift-giver’s note inside. A birthday or Christmas just wasn’t “up to snuff” without one, so this quote made me smile.

I do give books as gifts sometimes, when people would rather have one than a new Ferrari. Dean Koontz, American author. (no contest, surely?!)

book gift021

This book was a gift from my great-aunt. I’d bet I’d finished it before my January birthday.

As a child, many of of us were taught to write thank you notes on receipt of a gift. This matter of etiquette seems to have largely gone out of fashion – though I have one friend who unfailingly writes a formal and polite card of thanks. Instead we now telephone or email our thanks.

I’m very simple when it comes to gifts, so the best ones that I’ve received have love as their main intention. I appreciate everything. Adriana Lima, Brazilian model.

Ancestors and gifts

 

If you’re really lucky your ancestors lived in a place where the local newspaper was gossipy and the correspondent sought out the details of events, or knew the people well. Those stories can give you wonderful insights into your families’ lives. You may know local names from post office directories, electoral rolls, census enumerations (not in Oz) or land maps but you are unlikely to have any true sense of the people’s closeness or the extent of their friendship. News stories can help reveal these links of FANs. And they’re a wonderful source of information for those undertaking One Place Studies. Australian researchers are so very fortunate to have Trove, our free digitised source of newspapers, photos, diaries etc which let us tag, list and text-correct the digital stories. Very much a focus for our gratitude as it’s revealed so many hidden stories which had been lost in the pre-digital era.

Wedding gifts

Plant Savage Wedding DDG 30 Jan 1912

WEDDING. (1912, January 30). Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 – 1922), p. 8. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18319416

Ada Savage married James William Plant of nearby Geham at the Murphy’s Creek Presbyterian church on 17 January 1912. The festivities were extensively reported but so were the list of gifts. I love that even the children gave their own gifts and I’m curious who did the shopping and where. Did they travel on the train up to Toowoomba to search out special gifts? Who would have thought that Kunkel would be mis-reported as Hunkel. The Ganzers were Dorfprozelten connections of my 2xgreat grandfather, George Kunkel and the Tomkys children’s widowed mother married James Kunkel. After many years looking at Murphy’s Creek I can recognise many of the names mentioned in the news story, and their role in the community.

Mary Elizabeth Gavin farewell gift

SOCIAL. (1917, April 10). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 9. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20163205

 

Farewell gifts

This is a delightful story of recognition for long public service by my great-grandmother’s mother and father. Typical of the times Mr Gavin responded on behalf of his wife. This was not their only service as five of their sons went to World War I, and one, James Gavin, was killed at Fromelles.

Enlistment gifts

It was common for the young men, enlisting in World War I from their home district, to be given a gift by one of the community organisations.  Typical gifts were wallets, watches, brushes, or small monetary gifts. Reading these with the knowledge of hindsight, it’s sad to think how many of these men never returned. Perhaps the wallet found with James Gavin’s body was the one given to him at Pechey. The first news story needs to be read with a fair degree of caution as the details seem to be inaccurate in terms of the names.

Jack Gavin, below, was not a member of my Gavin family but his family and mine kept “tripping over” each other on the Downs – it took a while to untangle the threads. Jack was also killed in action.

Gavin boys WWI

PRESENTATIONS. (1915, September 13). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 8. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20059598

 

Jack Gavin

Our Volunteers. (1915, September 15). Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld. : 1875 – 1948), p. 3. Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article98166240

Have you used reports of events or gifts presented to extend your family history research?

Do you perhaps have a special gift that’s been handed down through the family?

Have you left notes on special gifts or items for your descendants, so they know their origin and why they are special to you? Or are  you like me and have it on your “to do” list?

Quotes from https://www.brainyquote.com/

 

12 thoughts on “Gratitude for Gifts

  1. When you look at the early wedding gifts they were very simple. Compare that to modern weddings where gifts are often large amounts of money. When people marry now they often have all the necessities to set up house as they have already done so.

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  2. Hmmm I never thought of writing about gifts. I loved getting books as gifts and even read my brother’s. I remember sitting at the table writing thank you letters after Christmas.
    I gave all my grandchildren kids magazines for their younger years. They are all too old now so I give them gift cards to the book store. They are mostly all readers. Not so much writers 😦 I told their parents I’d appreciate at least a note… and now they all message me their thanks with hearts and kisses… even the boys! (I don’t talk in the phone)

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  3. I treasure any gift that shows that there has been an element of thought involved. I especially love books and theatre tickets or vouchers for same. Please spare me from more French champagne.

    One of my dreaded jobs when I was a teacher/librarian was sitting the kids down on the last days of the year to write thank you letters for their Speech Day Book Prizes. Even in the 90s the practice of writing thankyou notes was a thing of the past.

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