From the Front Porch

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was one of a small group of family members who went early to help prepare for my cousin’s celebration of life gathering.

As you can imagine, the minute I saw his Mom we both burst into tears.

She hugged me harder than she’d ever hugged me before and said, “Thanks so much for coming. It’s such a gift to have you here.”

The gathering was held at my cousin’s favorite time of day, golden hour.

And as the cotton candy-colored sky gave way to a thousand tiny stars there was one word that I kept hearing over and over again…gift.

“I’m thankful for the 26 years I had with him. They were a gift.”

“His genuine love of life was such a gift.”

“What a gift he was able to travel as much as he did.”

“He was a gift to all of his patients.”

“I’ve never seen some of these photographs. What a gift to have them now.”

As I’ve tried to make sense of this tragedy, my content calendar, and what’s left of my Christmas shopping list this week, I’ve also been thinking about gifts in a completely different way.  

I thought about how my Dad is notoriously difficult to buy for so the gifts I’m giving him are ones that will help make his life easier or better.

Or how the gifts I’m giving my Mom are things she could easily afford but wouldn’t normally allow herself to indulge in.

Both ideas have served me well over the years, especially when I feel stuck while searching for that something special.

What I’ve learned through this tragic and very unexpected experience though is just how many beautiful gifts that never make it under the tree.

The gifts of prayer, of perfect peace, of joy, grace, wisdom, strength, mercy, hope, and love.

The gift of, “I’m here for as long as you need, for as long as it takes.”

The gift of, “I saw this and thought of you.”

The text or voicemail that immediately takes the pressure off and begins with, “You don’t have to call or text me back I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you, and I love you.”

The gift of a hot meal during an illness, job changes, a new baby, caregiving duties, or tragic loss.

The gift of putting down your phone at family events to be fully present and engaged.

The gift of a tender hug that lingers a bit and makes you feel all warm inside.

So, as you’re organizing and crossing off the last of your shopping list, I want you to think out of the box.

Are diamonds and trips great gift ideas? Of course! I don’t think any of us would turn them down.

But this holiday season, I encourage you to dig a little deeper to find what someone *really* needs.

It just might be a gift you’ve already been equipped to give and what you consider small might help open someone’s heart and change their life forever.

Thank you again to everyone who prayed, lit candles, and reached out with sweet support during this time.

You’ll never know what true gifts they have been.

A Few of Our Favorite Things from Around the Web This Week…

Seasonal Home and Garden Tours:

Seasonal Craft and DIY Inspiration:

Health and Wellness Inspiration:

Style Inspiration:

Simple Pleasures and Little Luxuries:

If You’ve Missed Anything from the Blog or the Archives Recently, Here’s a Peek At What We’ve Been Up To…

Festive Holiday Entry Ideas

Festive Holiday Entry Ideas: Champagne Wishes Theme-The Crowned Goat

Quick and Easy Candle Centerpiece and Pinterest Challenge Blog Hop

Quick and Easy Candle Centerpiece - The Crowned Goat

A Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour (Our most popular holiday home tour to date!)

A Little Sparkle Holiday Home Tour-The Crowned Goat

2 Vintage Inspired Ornament Ideas and Christmas Cheer Holiday Hop

How to Create Vintage-Inspired Monogrammed Gift Tags

Our Best Holiday Gift Guides (224 Gift Ideas to Explore)

You can find last week’s From the Front Porch post here, in case you missed it…

Organizing the Week Ahead…

Words to Live By:

Dates to Celebrate and Commemorate:

  • 12/01 Buy Cards and Special Occasion Gifts for December
  • 12/01 The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
  • 12/02 National Mutt Day
  • 12/03 First Day of Advent
  • 12/04 National Cookie Day
  • 12/06 St. Nicholas Day
  • 12/07 Hannukah Begins

Weekly Simplified and Organized Home Challenge Task:

  • Mail Christmas Packages

3 Simple Ways to Celebrate the Season:

  • Observe Advent
  • Donate to a Sweater Drive
  • Make Gingerbread Cookies

Easy Gift Ideas We Spotted Online at Amazon This Week…

(Amazon affiliate links have been provided for your convenience. As an Amazon and Impact Media Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any sales made through such links will support us with a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure policy here)

Under Eye Patches * Dot Sweater * Solawave (currently on my wish list) * Brooch (such a pretty shade of pink)

Garland (great for the holidays or birthdays) * Jewelry Cleaner  * Folding Travel Mirror * Necklace

Pink Chiffon Ribbon (so many beautiful shades) * Key Ring (great if you’re always digging around in your purse for your keys) * Glotion (just the right amount of shimmer) * Paris Sweatshirt

Slippers (hoping Santa snagged these for me too) * Tumbler * Organizer Set * Lip Color

As always, we appreciate you more than you could ever know, and we hope your weekend is peace-filled and relaxing.  We can’t wait to share even more with you next week!

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


Similar Posts


  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin! I’m truly praying for peace and comfort for you and your family! Sending hugs and prayers!

    1. Thank you, Susan. It’s been such a difficult two weeks and even though we know he’s in a much better place, it’s still tough to think about him not being here. He was such a bright light in our family. Thank you again for all your prayers and for reaching out. I really appreciate it, CoCo

  2. I’m sending you tons of prayers and virtual hugs. Again I’m so sorry this happened.

    1. I really appreciate it, Cindy, thank you. Big hugs, CoCo

  3. Hi, friend.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending peace to you and your family.
    Also, I wanted to thank you for sharing my candles. You did not have to do that but I appreciate your kindness more than you know.
    Wishing you a peaceful weekend. Hugs to you!

    1. Thank you so much, Rachel, I really appreciate it. And you are so welcome for the candle shout out. I hope you sell out of all of them! Big hugs, CoCo

  4. Dear CoCo, I’m so sorry to hear about this tragedy. My heart breaks for you and all of your family! My oldest son just turned 27 in October, and I can’t imagine losing someone so young and in the prime of their life! It reminds me that life is a precious gift we often take for granted. Praying for all those who knew your cousin! Hugs to you my friend!

    1. I really appreciate all your extra hugs and prayers, Donna. We definitely need them. I think we are all still in complete shock to be honest, but I know we’ll get through it together. It’s such a tough reminder to hug your babies tight and to tell them that you love them every chance you get because you truly never know what can happen. Big hugs, CoCo

  5. Oh, my goodness. Your poor family. Giant hugs to everyone who is grieving.

    I’m holding everyone who is grieving in my heart, this season especially.

  6. CoCo, I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. It is always difficult to lose a loved one, and I find it especially difficult during the holidays. I pray for your and your family for peace and comfort during this difficult time. When a mother has to go through this, it is heart wrenching.

  7. Hi Coco, Was so very sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. Wow, that was an awesome take away from your cousin’s celebration of life service, about how much of a gift he was to others, and also the list of
    gifts that we so often overlook or just plain don’t see. This post was very inspirational even tho you were going thru a painful time………..oh how God brings beauty out of the ashes so well. Praying for you and your family hon, as you all adjust to this loss.
    Blessings Abundant to you and yours,

  8. As I get older, I increasingly realize that sometimes the greatest gifts I can give people have no monetary value. Kindness. Patience. Time.

    I’m so sorry you and your family have to endure this loss. I wish there was a way to lighten the load.

    Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. 🩷🩷🩷

    Thank you also for investing so much time into putting this post together. I always love the links you share.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. This is such a great post. Focusing on what truly is a gift. I will be sharing this on my Saturday post. Hugs and blessings to you, my sweet friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *