The Gift(s) of Friends


Decorating for the holidays was easier being snowed in!

This is the most wonderful time of the year! And when I say “this,” I am referring to Thanksgiving to New Years, with Christmas a very important part of the season.  Our family hosted 64 family members for Thanksgiving, with the people, tables, and food the main event, and that order is intentional! The food is wonderful, of course, and all of our family makes it so, but the people who grace the turkey decorated tables are what I love more than even the food. And as soon as the tables are cleared and some of the tables and chairs stored for next year’s event, it is time to decorate for Christmas. We have a much smaller number for Christmas Eve dinner, which is the meal function we host for our nuclear family; only 16!

I spent most of the weekend decorating our two Christmas trees and the rest of the house. In Raleigh we were snowed in, so I had the luxury of taking my time to decorate, and I went down memory lane unboxing the ornaments and Christmas decorations. Every year I somewhat dread all of the work to ready our home for Christmas. But when the work is complete, I am always glad we made the effort. This year this is especially true, for while unboxing the decorations, I unboxed many memories. Some of you reading this are a part of my memories.

When we give gifts to others, we never really know how meaningful some of those gifts will be, and some of them, for many years! Especially when we buy intentionally and choose gifts that will speak to the heart of those who receive them. A gift is not just a tangible expression of our affection for others, it also shows the recipient how much we know them, and how much care we take to select just the right gift. The gifts below which I have received through the years reflect that the friend who gave the gift carefully selected just the right gift for me, which was a gift in and of itself. You may find a gift you gave me here!

These all are gifts received from friends, none from (genetic) family.  My close friends are chosen family. While I have received many meaningful gifts from family, the purpose of this is to share memories of gifts received from friends. And the value of the gifts has nothing to do with their cost.


I have several treasures from this loved one who was like a mother to me. She will always be with me.


 A life-long friend gave me this gift many years ago. While the paint on the angel has chipped, our relationship has remained solid. 


Two of these three plates were given to me by a life-long friend who has brought beauty to my life in so many ways. 


This was given to me by one of my direct reports in the late 1980s. I have always treasured it.


This was given to me in 1996 by a coworker who became a friend and then became family. 


 This gift from a friend who passed away last year will always be a treasure, as was she. 


After many years, this silver and glass potpourri set from Crabtree and Evelyn still scent our home at Christmas.


This friend has created many items of handiwork for her family and friends. I will always treasure this while trying hard to not be “naughty.”


Penguins abound in our home, but none any more special than these! 


This family friend knew I would have many uses for this gift, and I think of her every time I use it, which is often!


These ceramic ornaments have a special place in our Christmas decorating and are always a reminder of this family friend. 


 A personalized gift from one who always takes great care to select a gift truly reflective of the recipient. 

As you can see, the gifts vary in type, but they are all memorable to me. Every time I use them or display them, I think of the one who so carefully chose it, and the relationship we share or shared. Sadly, several of the gifts are from people who are no longer alive, yet they remain alive in me. Of those who are still present in my life, all of the relationships we share are not the same as they were when I received these gifts. That is ok. Relationships evolve, as I wrote in a recent blog post; some are for a reason, some are for a season, and some are for a lifetime.

What gifts are you giving this season? Are you choosing intentionally? Hopefully, you are, for the receiver of your gift may keep it for a lifetime, and it will always be a reminder of you and the gift of friendship.

If you find your gift here, I would love to hear from you!

May you have a blessed season of giving.

Patti name

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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2 Responses to The Gift(s) of Friends

  1. Patti, this is such a sweet post. Seeing Mother’s Santa Claus brought tears to my eyes. She always gave from her heart and the treasures of her hand-made gifts were the best. I would love to know those gifts that she gave you: quilts, ceramics, etc. I know you cherish each one. I miss her every day, but especially at Christmas. Love you my friend❤️

  2. Patti Fralix says:

    I have so many of her handmade gifts, it was hard to select just one. I will always treasure them, and her. What a wonderful influence Shirshee was on Tara and me. Can you identify your gift from the pictures? Love you also, my dear friend.

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