The best gifts are simplest

Published 4:23 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“Look at this, Mom!” Melinda squealed, as she held up one of the ugliest Christmas sweaters imaginable.

“Maybe that’s a little too ugly, Melinda! I’m not sure if that’s the one I want. Maybe tacky, but not quite that terrible,” I said with a giggle.

The Goodwill Store in Newport, Tennessee may never be the same after our mother-daughter shopping trip. We cackled our way through the aisles passing up all the really cute things as we searched for the perfect ugly sweater. Tonight was triple date night for our clan, and we were celebrating the beginning of our favorite season at the remake of The Grinch.

Finally, our buggy was filled with sweaters for our evening out. Some needed a few revisions to make them a little wilder, but we were satisfied with our purchases. We had searched for cool sweaters, but also for the ones with a pink, half price tag.

When the cashier rang us up at the register our total came to the whopping twenty dollars and change. Now that was a win-win!

A few minutes later we grabbed our purchases and walked up the steps to Melinda’s apartment. When we entered we were happy to find that my hubby, Mike, had been doing a little shopping of his own. The usually mild mannered Clark Kent had turned into super shopper.

“Hey guys. Look what I scored at The Dollar Tree,” Mike laughed, joining in the fun. He tried on his sweater and one of the flashing Christmas light necklaces he had purchased to complete our ensembles. He looked awesome and ridiculous, in other words, just right for a night to remember.

The afternoon flew by with last minute preparations. Melinda embellished a couple of the sweaters with her trusty hot glue gun and colored pompoms. and finished just in time. Her cozy living room almost burst with people and laughter when everyone arrived ready for our movie date night.

Yes, we looked ridiculous when we strolled into the theater with our flashing light necklaces and really ugly sweaters, but we had a blast! The other moviegoers smiled as we walked by and someone offered to take a group shot of our silly selves.

I’m back home now and working on decorating the house and trying to find just the perfect thing for those special people on my list. There are so many things that I think I should do to get ready for Christmas. I want my house to sparkle, the gifts to be wrapped in coordinating colors, and my decorations to be exactly right. But when I think of it what does all that really matter?

Many times the simplest and most inexpensive gifts are the ones we cherish most. The time spent with my precious daughter finding half-price sweaters at the Goodwill and heading to the movies with my peeps on $5 night didn’t hurt our pocketbooks, but it filled our hearts with special memories to treasure.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at