Gift Giving

The dictionary defines gift as “something freely given”. As we enter into the holiday season, gifts and the word “free” hardly seem connected. And yet, many would argue that a gift freely given, with no strings attached, no great extravagance displayed, and little fanfare, can be the best give to receive- think hugs, loving words, handmade cards, and random acts of kindness. Our first grade boys wrote of the best gifts they could give others this holiday season. Some wrote of time- time with their parents, time with their grand-mom, time with a sick friend. Their words were honest and sincere. As part of their “random acts of kindness” character education program this year, the first grade decided that December should include a kind act at the Springwell Senior Home. The boys rehearsed songs about the season and made cards for the residents. It was an unusually warm day, and thoughts of spring break rather than winter break filled us all, as we drove to Springwell on Tuesday. The boys provided entertainment and joy, which may be seen on the faces of the seniors in my pictures below.



There are many kinds of gifts that may generate good will or good feeling. I recently read a book by New York Times op-ed columnist titled, A Path Appears. The book tells of a “sweeping tapestry of people who are making the world a better place and a guide to the ways that we can do the same…” The last chapter of the book details organizations that do good in the world and would benefit from a donation or gift. Author, Nicholas Kristof, also published an article in November which offers gift ideas that go beyond personal material possessions. I was inspired to give my grandchildren a share in Heifer International’s animal program. They may choose between a flock of geese or a flock of chicks for a needy family somewhere in the world.

Here is a link to the article.


Our student council joined in the gift giving spirit with a collection of hats and mittens for the homeless. They collected over 180 items, some of them purchased with the money earned from an earlier hot chocolate and doughnut sale. Way to go Student Council! See the tree pictured below.


The second dictionary definition of gift is, “a natural ability”. We speak of our gifted students and gifted faculty often. We are truly blessed with so much natural ability at Gilman. I am often struck by the amazing abilities of our teachers and staff. I have included below two videos which illustrate “gifted”. One is of a class led by Amy Cyman, our music teacher. She had the boys learn a rhythm to the Nutcracker music and reproduce it with their movements. The other video is of our administrative assistant extraordinaire, Tammy Testerman, singing along with our fifth grade at the end of year holiday gathering.


Please enjoy- and have a wonderful holiday!

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