The Unexpected Gift

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 | No Comments

What do you get a blind woman for Christmas when you’re on a tight budget? In one case a little creativity on the part of a friend resulted in a unique, and very touching, gift.

My mother-in-law lost her sight to macular degeneration over a  decade ago and we often struggle to find appropriate gifts for holidays or birthdays. She has a collection of talking watches which I get to reset when daylight savings time rolls around as well as other tools to help her cope with the loss of her sight.

This year a friend, Ruthie, wanted to find her an appropriate gift but like so many people in this economy she had limited funds. Ruthie had lived with Patti for several years after my father-in-law passed away and helped her through the transition period. She’s become like family even though she had to move back east for work and family.

Fortunately, Hallmark sells recordable books that allow you to provide your own narration. Last year at a post-holiday sale Ruthie picked up a copy of The Very First Christmas, and set it aside. When the Christmas season came around she enlisted seven year old Rachel, the youngest reader among her nieces and nephews, to help.

Rachel has never met Patti but fully dove into the spirit of the project. She practiced for her debut as an audio book narrator, and then recorded the eighteen page children’s book the sweet and innocent voice of a seven year old.

When Ruthie asked Rachel to write a quick note to go with the book she filled up a page, signed it “Love, Rachel,” and then created a drawing to go with it. When Ruthie reminded her that Patti wouldn’t be able to see the drawing, Rachel used cotton and a felt penguin to turned it into a three dimensional card to go with the audio book.Christmas 2011 028

When Patti opened the package on Christmas morning and listened to it, she was touched by the unexpected and totally unique gift from a child that she’d never met. Although we had to read the letter from Rachel that came with it to her, she was able to feel the three dimensional picture that came with it. Trust me, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The gift from Ruthie and Rachel reminded me that flashy and expensive isn’t the most important element in gift giving—it’s personal and unexpected that touches the heart.

Some of our favorite resources for the blind and visually impaired:

We use Independent Living Aids for many gift giving occasions—since we’re rarely as creative as Ruthie and her trusted associate, Rachel.

Washington State where we live also has great, free talking books lending library for the blind. Your state might too.

Tape Ministries Northwest provides faith based and inspirational materials.


  1. Patty deRidder
    January 24, 2012

    Lovely! I can just see Patti’s face!
    aunt Patty

  2. Connie@raise your eyes
    January 28, 2012

    Terrific idea!