Dear Annie

What’s that old phrase?

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: People who complain about giving gifts and not getting one in return should remember an old saying: If you are giving something and expecting something in return, then it is not giving; it is business. — Good Ol’ Saying

Dear Good Ol’ Saying: May our readers find the pleasure in giving to others without expecting something in return. That good feeling in and of itself is a gift.

Dear Annie: A writer asked about giving a gift to someone who has everything. We think of gift-giving as expensive and impressive. It’s not. The best gift can be some small trinket that brings back a happy memory that you shared with a person or persons.

We spent one Christmas on a small foreign island. The only thing open on Christmas Eve was a small 7-Eleven store. We made the spending limit $5. It’s hard to find anything for that amount, even in a 7-Eleven.

One gift was a small set of Christmas tree lights. Back at the motel, my wife broke off a small branch and stuffed it in a coffee can. We lit it up. It looked just like the Christmas tree in the “Peanuts” comic strip. We had a great Christmas and many laughs over the years about our little tree.

My greatest gift was the last photo of my wife. Although she was extremely sick, she sat up and smiled. It now sits on my desk and I look at it every day and smile. — Greatest Gift

Dear Greatest Gift: I am very sorry about the loss of your wife. What a touching and beautiful way to honor and remember her. It sounds like you had a true love with a true artist. Making a Christmas tree out of a coffee can — I love it. Thank you for sharing your letter.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.