A Most Unusual Gift



by Kim Nguyen

My most interesting gift this Christmas is one that my husband’s relative gave me – a lip gloss. When I opened the beautiful wrap, I found a little mirror attached onto the lip gloss bottle. I unscrewed the lid and two little lights lit up with neon white beams. The lights were designed so that when you apply the lip gloss to your lips, you can actually see them by looking into the little mirror on the bottle. The lip gloss tastes minty and contains a stimulant chemical to make your lips look fuller. I do not like the sensation caused by the stimulant. I don’t think I can use this lip gloss. In spite of this, it always amazes me that someonesomewhere is trying to improve their product. I only know the lipstick or lip gloss with similar traditional shapes and functions. It never crossed my mind that we should have a lip gloss, the mirror and the lights at the same place for convenience sake. Now we can take care of our lips even in the dark of a pub or in the car at night. The lip gloss provoked some thoughts about my job and my life. There are products I never thought could be improved upon or that my life could be better or I that I could be happier.

The second “unusual” gift was from my husband. You might not believe this, but it’s a true story. My husband and I are supervisors in two different companies. I asked my staff, especially new staff, not to worry about buying me a Christmas gift for many reasons. However, from time to time staff have given me a box of chocolates or some other gift. I accepted these gifts but told them not to make this a tradition. My husband does not receive gifts from his workers either. However, from time to time he brings home a few gifts during the Holidays Season.

This year he handed to me a Christmas gift bag that was so worn out. He said that it was from one of the cleaners on his team. I looked into the gift bag and inside was a very old and torn white plastic shopping bag that held several pairs of panty hose. The panty hose came in different colours and various sizes suitable for a small to large person. Even though the panty hose were not used, the plastic wrappers were worn out, the paper and the brand names were all faded. Some of them even fell out of their own wrapping.

I did not know what to make of it. I asked my husband about his worker. Did he go out of his way but could only afford to give my husband panty hose from a second hand store? Why did a male worker give a male supervisor panty hose? What was the meaning behind the gift?

My husband told me that this worker/cleaner arrived from a country far away. He has property back home and he also bought property here in Canada. During the week he works as a cleaner in my husband’s company in Mississauga to earn the stable wages and health benefits. On the weekend he has a booth where he sells clothing in a flea market in Toronto. When I found out more about this man, I admired his strong work ethics. He probably has a lot of money in his pockets, but not much style. Who on earth would give your supervisor a gift like that? How would you feel or what would say to someone who gave you such an unusual gift?

Kim Nguyen

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