Inspired Giving

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The diamond studs are not huge, but they are perfect.

Not because the clarity is pristine or the cut is divine. Because they're from my Gram.

Smart, sassy and stubborn, she bought each of us girls the earrings when we turned 18. I'm not sure if she told me they were little reminders to be independent-to never wait for or expect a boy to get me what I wanted. But whether it was spoken or not, I got the message.

I have other more literal messages from Grandma, too-my favorites tucked tightly into a pretty wooden box she gifted me (and all of the grandchildren) upon college graduation. She asked everyone in the family to write a letter for The Box, and as the years have passed, I've added more. Some make me laugh; others make me cry. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Gifting, especially at this time of year, can be stressful-as the holidays in general tend to be.

Our hope with this issue is to give you a bit of inspiration.

It could be with stunning fashion. (Our idea? Start with one fabulous accessory and build your look from there.)

Perhaps it's with recipes that taste divine while allowing you to enjoy the party, too. (I'm still dreaming about the dessert.)

It might be by offering a getaway plan. (The Greenbrier is like stepping back in time.)

Or maybe it's with gorgeous gifts. (We scoured Central Ohio to find five lust-worthy treasures at various price-points-from $5 to $350-and each with a story. The jam? Best I've ever tasted. The wine stops? Affordable way to give something meaningful to a friend. The jewelry? One-of-a-kind-and made by a young, doting momma. The butcher blocks? Sexy. The totes? Yes, please.)

Of course, there's plenty more to be inspired by, too-Cheryl Krueger's business savvy, Elaine and Nate Goldberg's mission, and one of the most notable homes in Central Ohio.

Even if this issue merely gives you an excuse to spend an hour soaking in the tub, looking at stunning photos, we'll consider it a victory.

For my family, this Christmas marks the first without Gram.

And it won't be the same-not for the handsome Air Force pilot she spent 64 years with, not for her four children, or seven grandchildren, or nine great-grandchildren.

But though she is not here to hand us presents, she's still giving her gifts.

And while my diamonds remind me of her strength, it's still what cost not a penny that means the most-her carefully written words:

Never confuse power, glory or the outwardly successful with integrity and true wisdom. Refuse to do less than your best, but be accepting of your own humanity. In other words, don't be too hard on yourself. Don't allow yourself to get depressed-a limit of 30 minutes works for me. You must take all of those next steps in order to find if your rainbow ends in far-away places or in your own backyard. And wherever you are, remember how much you are loved.

Happy holidays, ladies. And gift beautifully.

Kristy Eckert, Editor