In The Spirit Of Giving

Woman Shares The Story Of Her Best Christmas Gift Ever, And It's Such A Simple, Yet Important, Thing

"I was 9 years old. I think it cost the person who gave it to me about £1.50. "

We love tinsel and trappings as much as the next Elf on the Shelf devotees, but here at A Plus, we believe that true wintertime magic comes in the form of connection and human kindness. Over the next month, come back and join us in raising a glass to those who give — because what's December without a little holiday spirit?

Many of us can still remember the best gift we've ever received as a child, and, if we're lucky, there's a special story that came with it.

Hayley Webster, an author in Norfolk, England, recently shared hers in a Twitter thread that has warmed hearts everywhere. Her story also caught the attention of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who retweeted Webster's thread with the caption,"This is so beautiful." 

Since Webster posted the thread on December 3, it has since received more than 55,000 likes and 16,000 retweets — and for good reason: 

"I'm going to write a thread about the nicest Christmas gift I ever received. I was 9 years old. I think it cost the person who gave it to me about £1.50 [about $2]," Webster began. "My sister was nearly five. We lived with my dad. My mum lived the other side of town with her boyfriend. Her and my dad were Not In A Good Place. She still had a key to the house and would sometimes use it, unexpectedly." 

In the continuing thread, Webster explained that her dad had a girlfriend who Webster really liked, especially since she wasn't seeing her mom very much. Though her dad's girlfriend didn't live with her family, she did what she could to help make the holiday special for her and her younger sister. 

She also noticed all the small, kind actions Webster took to help her sister get through the uncertain transition time. "I made my sister a card every day from Santa's elves and hid little gifts about the house, little glitter footprints, bought beautiful soaps from the gift shop in town in the shape of sea shells [sic], and bells and apples using my savings, and wrapped them for her," she continued in subsequent tweets. "I put tinsel around the spoon for her yoghurt in her lunchbox. I made and cut her sandwiches into snowflakes or stars. When I put her to bed at night I made up stories about two girls called Hayley and Jodie who went to live with the elves." 

All the while, The Snowman was a popular film that year, and one of Webster's favorites. She especially loved the song "Walking In The Air" from the movie. So, one weekend just before Christmas, the girlfriend said to Webster, "You've made Christmas really magical for your sister, you really have. It seems such a shame nobody does that for you." Though Webster "didn't really understand what she was saying" at the time, she soon would. 

One morning that week, Webster came downstairs to make breakfast and found an envelope with glitter on it. "It just said, 'To Hayley. Have a lovely Christmas. Thank you for all your help. Lots of love from Santa's elves xxx'," Webster wrote. "When I opened it, it was the piano sheet music for 'We're Walking In The Air.' I had been working out how to play it myself, but I couldn't get it quite right. And there it was, in an envelope, just for me. I played it and played it and played it. It felt like the first time somebody had actually SEEN me." 

It wasn't a grand gesture, but a small one — that was grand to someone. "It was the nicest thing, the loveliest, kindest, small, lovely thing," Webster said. "It made a difference to me, a huge difference. I remember it every year, every single year." 

Not only has the meaningful gift stayed with her throughout the years, but so has the lesson Webster learned from it. "She taught me Christmas is nothing to do with showing people you love them with big money spends.  For me, it will always be about giving people what they need; attention, kindness, love," Webster concluded. "And when that happens to me, when people do that for me, it literally lasts as warmth my whole life. Notice people. Show them they matter. It's the best advice I could ever give anyone. Not just at Christmas." 

(H/T: Good Housekeeping)

Cover image via Ben White on Unsplash

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