The Best Gift a Writer Can Give

by Pamela Hodges | 27 comments

You can give gifts; socks, pencils, toys. Socks will get holes in them, pencils will wear down, and toys will break. Words can create images and bring back memories that will never wear down or break. You are a writer. This year, gift writing.

Gift Writing: The Best Gift a Writer Can Give

Write with intent. Give someone you love a story about how much they mean to you.

Your Writing Is a Gift

The word “gift” has several meanings.

Your writing is a gift. A natural ability, and something to give away without payment.

Give a gift of writing. Write a story and mail it. Send it in an e-mail, and in an envelope with a stamp.

I mailed my mother in Canada several small presents. The parcel arrived in time; my mother put the gifts under the ceramic Christmas tree she made in 1976, to open on Christmas Day. I won't be with her when she opens them. I live in Pennsylvania; she lives in Saskatchewan. One country and one time zone away. Two thousand miles, a thirty-one-hour drive.

Today I will write a story for my mom. The email will arrive in time. And I will print it out, put it in an envelope and mail it. It will arrive after Christmas, but hopefully, it will bring back memories of times shared.

So, what do I want to tell my mom? What do I really want to say?

Who do you want to give a story to? What do you really want to say?

Not what do you want to say—what do you really want to say?

Who Is Your Story For?

Who would you like to write a story for? Maybe you have someone who has everything. They don't need any more socks. They already have a blender, and they don't need any more salt shakers.

Is the story for your mom? Have you ever told her how you feel?

Is the story for your doctor? Have they been your doctor for the past thirty years?

Maybe the story is for your spouse? Your grandparent? Your child? Your college roommate?

What Is Your Story About?

Write a specific story for a specific person. An audience of one. Go beyond the surface story to the heart beneath.

Think about what the story really means.

Do you want to thank your parents for the bike they gave you when you were eight? Are you thanking them for the bike, or are you thanking them for the self-sacrifice you saw, when they ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a year at their jobs to be able to pay for your bike?

If your parents are no longer alive, write a letter to your child. Or write a letter to a service member thanking them for their service.

While I was writing this post, I remembered a story my mom wrote and gave me for my birthday several years ago. It is called “Memories of my little girl—Pamela Berdeane.” She wrote the story in the first person, as if I was telling the story.

I don't remember what she gave me last year. But she wrote the story twelve years ago, and I still have it.

This is an excerpt from that seventeen-page single-spaced story she gave me in 2004:

I was in Granny Mary's bedroom. I found a pair of scissors, then proceeded to cut off all of my curls, some places I put the scissors right to my scalp and cut. I cut my hair all over my head, then I put all my curls in my hands and went off to the kitchen to show my Mom.

Write a story, a short story. You don't have to write seventeen single-spaced pages like my mom did. Start with one story, and give the gift of writing.

Writing can be a powerful way to love someone well.

p.s. here is the haircut.

Have you ever given someone the gift of your writing? Let me know in the comments.


Today, write a story and send it. You can take fifteen minutes to write and share your story in the comments here, or just let us know that you wrote one. Some stories are meant only for the person the story is written for.

If you would like to share your story here, please do. And read someone else's story and comment.

Thank you for reading my posts and commenting. I love to read your stories.


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  1. Michelle Chalkey

    Great post, Pamela! I had been toying with this idea for the past few months and sadly didn’t make the time to do it. I did start writing an essay about friendship that I want to give my friend for her birthday, though. I love that your mom wrote that story for you. There are so many opportunities to do great things with our writing, but often times we think if we don’t have a whole book we’ve got nothing to show. Thanks for this post, it’s a great reminder for seeking any opportunity to impact someone’s life with your writing.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Michelle Chalkey,
      It is never too late to write something for a friend. I still have to write something for my mom. The post to Canada takes a few weeks, but I will try and send her something in an email.
      How sweet to write an essay about friendship and give it to your friend.
      I forget myself how writing can help other people.
      Wishing you all my best.

  2. EmFairley

    Wonderful post, as always, Pamela. Thank you! I’ll be writing a story tomorrow for my special someone, which will be about our first Christmas together some years ago.

    Wishing you and your family every blessing of the season, and I’ll be thinking of both you and your mom on Sunday.

    Em xoxox

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello EmFairley,
      I wish you and your family every blessing this season too. And a blessing of sunshine, laughter, and joy.
      Greetings to you and your special someone. What a wonderful story idea.

    • EmFairley

      Thank you! He’s just seen part one of the story. Can’t keep anything from him, but he really likes it. Hope he feels the same about part two tomorrow 🙂

      Em xoxox

  3. Debra johnson

    This is a great idea thanks Pamela! I wrote a letter like this to my grammy – years after she passed. I did something or read something that reminded me of her and I just had to write the story to her about her and what she had given me her whole life- the treasured memories of her life,,,, I still have it. Its called memories of mamma… (I believe)..

    In my story block of not knowing what t keep and finish for this year, I could start writing personal letters to those who have meant / mean something to me and I cherish…. Thanks for the idea

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Debra,
      Memories of mamma. Your grammy sounds like someone very special. Being loved unconditionally is a wonderful gift.
      Writing letters to cherished friends sounds like a great idea. I think I will do that too. Thank you for telling me what you were going to do.
      Hugs to you,

    • Debra johnson

      your welcome, sometimes writing how you feel is easier than talking to them and its a keep sake like no other… and being Christmas what a great stocking stuffer

  4. Deena

    Hi, Pamela. What a wonderful post and a wonderful inspiration for the end of the year.

    Anne Lamott also talks about the gift of writing for others in her book, Bird by Bird. Check out Part Four of the book.

    All the best, Deena

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Deena,
      Thank you for the suggestion. I have read the book, but it was awhile ago. I will go and re-read chapter four.
      I hope your end of the year and your new year brings you much joy and sunshine.
      All my best,

  5. Jennifer Shelby

    I gave my young niece a hat once. It was the first year past toys but I wanted her to keep a bit of holiday whimsy, so I wrote a story about the hat (which was magical, natch) and its journey to find someone special to belong to, which of course ended up being her. She still brings it up over the holidays, so it left an impression! Not sure whatever happened to the hat though…

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Jennifer Shelby,
      What a fun story. A magical hat! And how nice she remembers. Love from an Aunt who takes the time to make a gift special is to be remembered.
      Sending best wished this holiday season!

    • Susan W A

      wow! That is awesome.

  6. Christine

    Great idea. Interestingly enough, this is what I decided to do yesterday for one of my grands. I plan to take a journal and write the basic scenes, but leave some parts blank so the children can make up their own tale as they go. For example:

    “One day ___ went to the ___ store to buy some ___. While ___ was there, ___ saw two teen boys drive up and jump out of the car. They seemed to be in a real hurry as they ran into the store, so ___ followed them, watching to see what they would do. One of them waited while the other ran down the aisle and picked up ____ which he took to the cashier. Then he told the man behind the counter that he needed to ____. Etc.

    It’s going to take some work to bring it together in a way that will make a good story, but I think the grandchildren will like it.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Love, love, love this idea Christine,
      Please stop back and let us know what your grandchildren thought.
      Hugs to you.

    • Christine

      Thanks. Now to get my brain in gear. But my grandchildren have always liked my “make-up as we go” stories, so I think this one will work, too. I’ll let you know. 🙂

    • Susan W A

      “make-up as we go” stories … lucky grandkids! Great feather in your cap!

      I never was good at making up stories for my son when he was little (he used to ask for a story, wait for my ideas to come, and when they didn’t, he’d say, “It’s okay, Mom. Good night.” So sweet of him, but my heart ached. Luckily I was better at making up songs for any little event in our day. : )

    • Christine

      I started working on it yesterday and when I get it done I’ll post the beginning here. I tried to work my grandchildren and/or their interests into my stories, so they really enjoyed them.

  7. mikemwxs

    Foi um belo corte de cabelo. 😀

    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Mikemwxs, T
      Thank you for your kind comment. I put it into google translate and came up with, “It was a beautiful haircut.”
      Hope you are well.

    • mikemwxs

      Eu que agradeço. Seu texto foi uma bela leitura e me inspirou a “escrever muitos presentes” para meus amigos. – I thank you. His text was a pleasant read and inspired me to “write many gifts” to my friends. I will.

    • Susan W A


  8. Pamela Hodges

    Hello TerriblyTerrific,
    Thank you for your kind comment.
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

    • TerriblyTerrific

      Happy Holidays!!!!!

  9. Berdeane Bodley

    You asked me why I was all dressed up, well, back in the day I used to dress up every Sunday 7 we would go down to the riverbank by the Bessborough hotel & enjoy our day. I was in the kitchen doing Granny Marys’ ironing when you came in & presented me with your handful of curls, (from your head). You can see in the picture how short your hair was , it took me several years of cutting & shaping to get your hair presentable again. I also wrote you a story “things I care to remember about my childhood”. You used to ask for stories for your birthday gift & I loved to write them for you. No I never wrote a story for Neal, but I’m sure he’d love to see your post. I love you, Mom.

  10. Berdeane Bodley

    It worked, yay!!!

  11. Sarojini Pattayat

    Awesome madam. I recalled the days how I was telling stories to my little son from my own ideas. Those were full of fun and fantasy.
    Thanks for such a inspiring post.



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