Saturday, December 26, 2015

Grace's Bracelet - A Gift for the Ages

It was a tough year. It was the end of the year in 2009. I was quite down and depressed. Wasn't sure what could lift my spirits, if anything.

And then there was Grace's bracelet.

Yes, it was a difficult time for all. It was hard for my entire family. For my mom. My 77-year-old mother had fallen ill and was not up to participating much in the holidays. The home-for-the-holidays wasn't ever going to be as it once was.

Giving and receiving gifts, store bought, was always the call of the season. Shopping, gift-wrapping, more shopping, and more gift-wrapping were the norm.

But not this year, and perhaps never again. It was not going to be the same. Not that it ever had to be the same forever, but change is change, and when the past is filled with the beauty and wonder of unconditional gift-giving, change can take on a painful sting.

But then again, there was Grace's bracelet.

A friendship bracelet, made of multi-colored string, fashioned together by a caring teen's hands, lacing in and over and through, until a final gift was created. By the hands of a niece - giving, loving, unconditional.

It would be enough.

In the face of a broken heart, when the family unit wasn't what it used to be, when store-bought gifts would no longer hold the symbol of consideration, carry the currency of care, stand for the transaction of the sacred, it would arrive here: in the simple giving - revealed not in high-powered tools or high-priced products, but in the form of a handmade friendship bracelet.

Like Dr. Seuss' Grinch would discover after his failed attempt at stealing Christmas through packages, boxes and bows, this innocent boy, so loving the tradition of Christmas giving and receiving, would find the light and the love in "something a little bit more."

More than products, more than the store's empty offerings, the gift from a loving niece would reveal the truth once again: it's the care that counts, it's the love that lasts.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer who still owns a friendship bracelet created by his niece. It can be found on his dresser. He can be found at

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