GiversLog is helping Ladies Home Journal with an article about the best gifts ever received. What comes to your mind when I ask this question?
When I was 6 or 7, I had a birthday party for friends at our house in Michigan. I believe this was the very party when I chugged a giant 2-liter bottle of cherry-flavored Faygo and then puked it up later that same evening. (If I don't tell you that, my sister will via the comments, so I'm just putting it out there the way I remember it.)
My mom didn't allow any sugar in the house, and that's basically where my bad relationship with the white powder begins - TO THIS DAY, if I can get my hands on sugar, it feels like a wicked, wicked treat. But that's another blog post.
Bueno, en resumidas cuentas, my neighborhood friend Ruthie brought a gift to my party that I would call the "best" gift I've ever received. It was a shoebox filled with small toys and surprises. There were crayons, jacks, play money (my favorite!) and one of those rubber balls attached to a paddle that you smack around for five minutes until it breaks. In essence, it was a box full of things that I'd see at the grocery store, always wanted, but my mother would never buy for me.
I found a great tutorial at IndieTutes that demonstrates how to turn an ordinary shoe box into a pirate's treasure box for kids. These are photos from the IndieTutes site. My box looked a lot like this.
Interestingly enough, I don't remember playing with anything in the shoebox. The real moment of excitement was the package itself - the feeling of surprise when pulling the top off, wonder at each item and the feeling of being suddenly toy rich.
I have received many wonderful gifts since that time but this one comes to mind as the first, best.