Deb Sarah has a gift to give…

opposite of me cover-1I love giving presents. I love getting them, too. Hard to say which is better.

But this week, I’m going to focus on giving.

I’ve got one ARC of The Opposite of Me and I’ll send it (along with a little box of chocolates, just to sweeten up your reading experience) to one of you -or you can pick another recipient and I’ll ship it to them. Just leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me what’s the best gift you’ve ever given OR received. Make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

I’ll pick the lucky number on Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays!

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Sarah Pekkanen

Latest posts by Sarah Pekkanen (see all)

57 thoughts on “Deb Sarah has a gift to give…

  1. The best gift I ever received was a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen given to me by my soon-to-be-husband thirteen years ago. I hadn’t published anything yet, but he had faith that I would some day use this gorgeous pen to sign copies of my book. My first novel, Free to a Good Home, comes out this summer, showing that a good gift can be an inspiration!

    Thanks for entering me into a drawing for an ARC of The Opposite of Me. The story sounds right up my alley. Best wishes for the holiday season!!

  2. The best gift, actually gifts I’ve ever received are my children. My children are the Love of my life.

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I can’t wait to read your book, whether I win the galley version or wait until it’s published!

    The best gift I have ever given required a lot of thought (and humour). My parents are the type who don’t really want anything that they don’t “need” and with a bathroom in desperate need of rennovations (imagine, 70’s green), I decided to get them a new toilet to get them moving in the right direction. They still use it every day 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Whether I win or not I’m still going to read the book! I’m an avid reader and when I say avid I read a book a day!

    The best gift I’ve ever received was my son Cameron. I was told I would never carry a child to term and shouldn’t try to get pregnant. I didn’t listen and eight years ago gave birth to my beautiful son, Cameron. He is the love of my life. He is a very bright second grader, who this year has already has been the writer of the month and reader of the month in his classroom. I’m so proud of him.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  5. That’s a surprisingly hard question! I think the best gift I ever received (thinking of gift in the traditional way and excluding the gifts of love and life and so on) was nearly twenty years ago. My partner and I were moving from Connecticut to Atlanta for law school. My sister gave us a little book about cat and kitten care, along with a $50 bill tucked into the front cover — that was the fee to adopt from the Humane Society. Ingrid Agnes was a wonderful friend for many years, eventually gaining one brother (and then another, when my mother z”l died). Now that we have a human child, I don’t envision any more cats, but Ingrid Agnes was irreplaceable anyway!

  6. Happy Holidays!! I’d have to say the best gift I received was just last week. It wasn’t at traditional Christmas gift, but it was definitely the most precious. Our family was on our way to church when we hit a very hilly road (called ironically enough Hill Rd) that was covered in black ice. We veered left and hit the guard rail and then veered right and hit an embankment. The car went up the embankment and flipped over and slid back into the left guardrail. Four airbags went off and glass shattered everywhere. My two kids (ages 5 and 10) were in the back, and we were all totally fine (except for being scared out of our mind.) My car was only four months old and ended up being totaled. Believe me, it didn’t matter about the car — just that we were all safe. I can’t think of a greater gift than the safety and health of our family!

    bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. The best CHristmas gift I ever got was my son. He was due on Christmas day, but I was induced and he joined our family on December 19th, 9 years ago. Even though he cried for nine months straight and my daughter kept asking, “When will he ever stop crying?”, he’s now the happiest, kindest child who fills our days with laughter and little boy noises. He completed our family of four in the very best way. A healthy baby born near Christmas–there’s no greater gift! Happy holidays!

  8. The best Christmas present I ever received was a jewelry box. It was an extremely lean Christmas that year and my mom decided to give me her favorite jewelry box. What made this jewelry box so special is it was my grandmother’s. She passed away about 13 years before I received the gift, so I really didn’t have anything from her. I cried and cried. A really special gift for my mom to part with and that made it even more special to me!

    I hope that you have a Very Merry Christmas!!!

  9. I can’t beat Julie P’s present. I think my best present was the year my parents let me get my ears pierced and get contact lenses! Both were Christmas gifts and so great for a seventh-grader — I suddenly felt glamorous and grown-up. (This was back in the late 1960s, kids were more easily pleased then).

  10. Last December, I received the gift to come “Out” without having to actually come “Out.” As I shopped at a local store near my house I got a call on my cell phone from my dad and he forced a “Hello” and asked how the weather was (we live in the same county!). I sensed something was up and although he’s sometimes strange he’s not THIS strange. He then dove right into it, “Are you gay?” I’m thinking “Whoa, where did this question come from?”
    Apparently, he said he had his suspicions and I was throwing hints around. Although I didn’t know I was I’m glad now that I had. That gift, although of no monetary value is priceless in the scheme of family dynamics and the sensitive confession of sexual orientation. My dad wasn’t very receptive at the time but I saw strength in him to ask and face the issue of his gay daughter. A year later, he knows, that I know I’m gay and it’s OK! He says he stands by me to be happy and love who I love and that he’s proud that I’m finally “Out” and living my life! That is one gift I could have never given myself!

  11. The best Christmas gift that I’ve ever received was given on the FIRST Christmas – that God sent His own son down as a tiny baby in order to spread His love to all the world. And I am reminded of this gift especially this year as my sweet 4 year old loves telling me the Christmas story over and over and showers me with the love that ultimately comes from God above!

  12. Some incredible gifts… and you can’t really buy any of these at the mall, can you? Even the pen wasn’t just a pen – it was the faith and support behind it that made it special. I’m loving hearing these stories!

  13. Hello Sarah! Can’t wait to read your book!

    The best gift I ever gave (of course, as soon as I press send I’ll think of another) was a box full of memories to my mother. She had taken me on a trip to India, and i found a little hand-carved wooden box for a ridiculously small number of rupees. In it I put 52 slips of paper, each one holding a memory of her that I cherished. The idea was that she would pick out one per week (I didn’t think of this idea, but pilfered it from someone, possibly Martha Stewart). Of course we ended up knee-deep in wine and laughter and reading them all. It was great to relive those memories with her.

    Thanks for prompting–

    Cindy

  14. Every time I get to go and by with family at Christmas it feels like the best gift–being together, doing holiday things. The gifts are nice but beside the point.

  15. Best gift ever given – hands down – was the cash to pay for a new hot water heater for a family in need. We gave this family the money we were going to use to buy our family a fish tank for Christmas that year. We never got the fish tank. We don’t miss it. But we still get enormous joy from knowing we were able to really help a family in a time of need for them. Come to think of it, that’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received too!

    (P.S. I know I’m a graduate Deb and shouldn’t win an ARC – but dang, I can’t wait to read your book!)

  16. The giving is always better than the receiving and you can be sure that if you happen to pick me for the galley copy, I will be giving copies of your book to many friends down the road. Also, as a recovering copy editor, I might even have a relapse or two and catch a typo while I’m at it. And yes, I will be stalking you at book signings (or at least one of them) to say hi and offer support. Good luck with the book and happy holidays, Sarah.

  17. The best gift I have given will be given to my grandmother this year, she will be celebrating her 25th year of being a breast cancer survivor. I will be giving her a heart shaped ornament with a cyrstal encrusted pink ribbon in the middle of the heart. I was raised by her and she is one of my hero’s, I don’t know what I would do without her or where I would be today if she lost her battle. So in a way it is also the best gift I have ever received as well, is the gift of my grandmother in my life as my mother figure.

    I am very much looking forward to reading your book, I have been looking forward to it, since we first started chatting Sarah.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with your beautiful family.

    Warmly,
    Sheena

  18. Can’t wait to read this book – one way or another.

    My best gift I’ve given and received was probably my 40th birthday party, which I gave to myself this year. Because it’s all about me right? Okay – that, and the Coach bag my husband gave me for my birthday last year.

    Happy Holidays!
    Lela

  19. It does feel wonderful to give, doesn’t it? We felt as a family that things could have been so much worse for us this year, yet we were blessed by having many new doors opened up to us. We decided to pick up some kid’s names from our local DFCS to buy Christmas gifts for. I can’t wait to give them to them. 🙂

    Deidre

  20. I have always loved snowmen; I don’t know why but I just do. And the best gift I ever received was a snowman pin from my father. I was about 6 or 7 years old and my father made a point of giving me this gift not from Santa but from himself. It is the only gift I think my father ever picked out by himself just for me and although I am now 48 years old (how did that happen????) I still have my snowman pin.

  21. Very excited to read the novel!

    The best gift I ever received was probably a pearl ring from my high school sweetheart, a surprise he chose for me to wear to prom. It was just so unexpected, and I was in love for the first time — it was really, really special. Though we parted ways later, I still have it — and wear it from time to time!

    Happy holidays!

  22. The best gift I’ve ever received was a mini dirt devil vacuum from my boyfriend. Although, it was at the time a very unorthodox gift, it has become not only the ‘humorous’ bar for gifts – meaning if we’re deciding on any sorts of gifts, the vacuum is the mark of “is the gift you’re thinking of better or worse than a mini vacuum?!” and then you know whether or not you should purchase it – but also, it has been the most useful and oddly handy gift I’ve ever received. I store it away in my car for little messes and believe me, with baby-sitting; it has become a great tool!

    I am now very considerate towards other’s “idea” of the perfect gift. Practical and unconventional is the key to any gift idea. =)

    Best wishes during this Holiday season and good luck with your search for the perfect gift.

  23. I think one of the best gifts I have ever given was to my husband for his 40th birthday. I gave him the opportunity to race a NASCAR style car around the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. It would have been a great surprise if I could have kept my mouth shut! I broke down and told him 4 months before the big day, but I think he still loved the gift.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  24. Though I enjoy giving gifts and the smiles I receive, the best Christmas gift I have received (thus far;) was an ARC fleece from my husband that I wear constantly (even to bed). My husband got tired of me borrowing his.
    Happy Holidays Sarah!
    So happy for your success.

  25. Let’s see, the best x-mas gift was when my dad was a school principal, He made us (5 kids ) pack and go deliver x-mas baskets to less fortunate. The smile on the mom’s face and the gratitude can never compare to a x-mas gift since.
    Sarah, congrats on your debutante ball. I can’t wait to read
    Opposite of me!
    Happy Holidays to u and ur loved ones. ( Joyeux Noel Sarah )

  26. The best gift I’ve been given? In a general sense, freedom. In a particular sense, when someone invests their time into developing and sacrificing for me it has been an incredible gift. The best gift I’ve given perhaps would be undivided attention to my young daughter.

  27. Hey Sarah!

    I just wanted to say that I can’t wait until your book comes out! I’m counting down the months (t minus 3 months in counting). I wish you and your family HAPPY HOLIDAYS and a very happy NEW YEAR!

  28. The best Christmas gift I ever received was my son. He was born on this date, twelve years ago. I felt like we were alone together in the hospital on that Christmas eve. It was so quiet. We brought our baby home on Christmas day. The best celebration ever!

  29. You wouldn’t think it, but the most thoughtful gift my husband has ever given me is a space heater. Years later, I still thank him on a cold night. I hate to freeze in the winter!

  30. The best gift I’ve ever received was from my sister. I had lost my job due to health problems and was having financial difficulties as a result. My car was in bad shape and in dire need of retirement. During frequent trips to visit my sister’s family, who were 2 hours away, I would have to drive with the window open and the heat blasting or chance succumbing to the exhaust fumes that were now finding their way into the car. I showed up at her house “exhausted” and nauseaous a time or two.
    During one visit, I was handed a set of keys and told to follow my dear sister outside. As we walked into the neighbor’s driveway I could’t help wondering what I was getting into. After asking me to get in the driver’s seat of a pick up truck, she handed me the keys and said “it’s yours”. I was stunned to tears which flowed freely until she asked me to take her for a ride. I looked down and realized it was a manual transmission and I had no idea how to drive it! Soon, we were cruising the neighbor as my sister gave me a second gift…driving lessons for my new truck! What a wonderfully selfless act that was. I love my truck and I love my sister.

    Can’t wait to read your book Sarah!

  31. I have so many fond memories of Christmas growing up, but one that sticks out for me was the one we celebrated earlier this decade. We have 4 boys (our daughter wasn’t here yet!) and we had just closed our family store. Things were a little tight so we weren’t going to be able to put anything under the tree for the boys. We didn’t say anything. Not even to our family. Well, God heard our hearts and sent us some caring people. A neighbor couple, whose kids were grown, said they wanted to take me shopping to get some gifts for the boys. When another neighbor friend found out, she said she was coming along and buying some stuff too. Then when a friend told her mother about this story, she sent some money in the mail. It just kept going and going. That Christmas, when the boys woke up, the tree was so crowded we couldn’t fit it all underneath! The boys were so surprised, because we had told them Christmas would have to be celebrated sometime later. We were truly blessed. The funny thing is…we had donated to a single mom and her kids with the little money we had and when I figured out how much the boys had received, it was 10X the amount in return. Well, I know we shouldn’t give just so we can get a bunch back, but when you give out of the kindness of your heart, so many people benefit. This year, I am just happy to be blessed with a wonderful group of friends and family…and facebook/internet so I can meet such wonderful and talented people (like you, Sarah!) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  32. What an inspiring and beautiful blog today. Everyone is fortunate and emotional. Many years ago when I was very young aand our family lived in the Great White North I thought that this was the only place to be and the best place to live. Neighbors and friends were always there for us and would drop in and chat or just to say hello. I enjoyed this informal but inmportant lifestyle which I find is missing today. We have moved away and have found another wonderful locale which transcends everything that I knew about people, life and warmth. I am blessed and appreciate this everyday. When I give a special gift I choose it with love and want it to suit that individual even if it is a small gift it is chosen with love and care. When I gave a unique journal to my sister who had lost her husband she was speechless and I know would use it for years to come.

  33. Whooo, Sarah. Can’t wait for the book to come out. You’re keeping me on the edge of my seat. My family is the best gift I’ve ever recieved. My husband, my kids. God has really blessed me.

    …the dishwasher of ’01 was really awesome, too. 😀

  34. Wow, totally forgot to mention my fav gift, would definately have to say is handmade gifts from my little sisters…framed photos, stationary and homeade candies…

  35. How wonderful to read through all these beautiful and surprising gifts.
    I’m a little too teary to think straight right now, but I have to admit that I really, really, REALLY loved my E-Z Bake Oven! We went through a lot of light bulbs trying to cook our own stuff; you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to make hambugers w/ the heat of a light bulb. I guess the added gift is that we didn’t die of e-coli!

  36. The best gift ever is money. Let’s not kid ourselves…except for what Julie P. got…I think she wins.

    But just in case: If I win the book can it be autographed?

    Merry Christmas!

    D

  37. Hi Sarah,

    Can’t wait to read your book!! Happy Holidays!

    The best gift I have ever received is my 6 year old daughter LUCY, the absolute #1 love of my life!

    Melissa

  38. The best gift I ever gave was to one of my best friends. She’s a bit older than I and a few years ago turned fifty. Over the course of a year and a half, I collected and indivually wrapped fifty books I was pretty sure she hadn’t read and would enjoy. The gift was a smashing success, her husband still talks about it today.

  39. Deciding on a best is too much pressure, but one of my favaorite stories is my nephew struggling with the Santa question at like 5 or 6 saying “There has to be a Santa because there is no way my Mom would give such good presents.”

    Can’t wait for the book!

  40. My kids…my husband…peace and loads of things that money can’t buy. Speaking of money, however, the very best purchased gift ever was from my husband who for my 40th birthday gave me an old fashioned photo booth that makes black and white photo strips, straight from a boardwalk arcade. Nevermind that it will require an addition to fit into our house!

    Can’t wait to read the book while eating chocolate!

  41. I just fought my way through chaos at Toys R Us for three hours and was feeling v. grumpy… then got home and saw these wonderful stories. Thanks for reminding me about the spirit of the season, everyone. I truly love these.

  42. The best gift I received for Christmas was a few years ago when my uncle donated a goat to a family in need through the organization Heifer International. You can choose to donate many different kinds of animals to families or persons in countries like Rwanda, Uganda where these animals provide food for months and much more.

    It was the first time I’d heard of Heifer International. Now I know there are several organizations like this.

    Thank you Sarah and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    ~ Amy
    Aimala127@gmail.com

  43. I’m going to go in a different direction, because everyone else is so frigging nice.

    Christmas morning 1990 – everyone, my husband and I, and all four children, aged nine to one, came down with stomach flu within four hours. My dad had ‘gifted’ us with it the night before; accidentally, I think. But he hated to miss a party on his birthday, Christmas Eve.

    Christmas 1991 was barf free. It still warms the cockles of my heart to think of that magical Christmas.

    I’m feeling a little queasy today. A new book would be nice…

    MJ

  44. I just want to wish everyone luck, because I totally loved THE OPPOSITE OF ME!

    And I can’t think of a best gift given or received! I gave a stylish friend (and I only say stylish to differentiate her from me and emphasize that *I* am not sylish) a pair of earrings, and they became her favorite. That was a total score.

    And before you think I’m the lamest gift giver/receiver ever, I didn’t celebrate Christmas for most of my life, so I should get a pass!

  45. The best gift I think I ever gave was a hug at the right moment. When my father died, his best friend came through the line at the cemetery and he looked like he was barely holding himself together. I said, “You look like you could use a hug.” I felt tears against my cheek, even though I hadn’t seen any, and later my mother told me that was the kindest thing she’s ever seen me do. It carries me, some days, when I feel like I’m not a good enough person.

  46. The best gift I ever received was a lucky charm for my bracelet that said
    “always 21”. It was from my best friend for my birthday and I still remember to this day. Can’t wait to read your book!

  47. Chocolate sure does inspire a lot of comments! (And the ARC too, of course 😉

    My favorite gift was the year my Mom got me a dollhouse. She wrapped every little piece of furniture separately, so I had dozens and dozens and dozens of little presents under the tree…

  48. My favorite gift was also a dollhouse, when I was eight. My Pepere was a woodworker and he made it. On Christmas morning he wheeled it into the living room where we were all gathered. It was covered by a sheet. He made me guess what it was. I guessed a motorcycle!

  49. OK Sarah, I’m mixing it up here. First, I think some out of the box thinking is in order. Second, some testerone is desparately needed. I’m going to tell you the WORST gift that I ever gave. As a senior in high school, I was in the throes of my first serious relationship. The lady lucky enough to be my steady at the time chose a ring she wanted for Christmas. Not just ANY ring, but a $29 ring from the BEST catalog (remember those?) OK, so I being kind of naive to the ways of love and romance, actually bought her the ring. Why was this a mistake? Well, let’s just say that we broke up soon after the holidays and a female friend advised me, “Um, if my boyfriend bought me a $29 dollar ring, I’d dump him, too.” OUCH. This became known as the “BEST Catalog” mistake. So I learned… many years later my fiancee (now wife – different woman) was hoping for a ring in the 1 carat neighborhood. I got her 1.22 carats, and you KNOW that everytime someone asked I made darn sure that neither she nor I forgot to include the .22 carats (OR .02 carats if the dared say “1.2”) Don’t get me wrong, I ate ramen noodles for six months, but I avoided the “BEST catalog” mistake.

    As you know, I’ve already purchased your book for said wife, but also have a mom and sister and will happily forward to them if I’m chosen. Happy holidays!

  50. The best gift I have ever received has been the love from my parents. They are both incredible people who have taught me love and compassion toward others.
    Merry Christmas Sarah!

  51. I’m a very lucky girl. The best gift I’ve ever gotten was my education. I’m in my third year at the University of Victoria, and my mother has supported me through the whole process. Not just financially, but she’s been there for the emotional side of school too. The good grades and the not so good grades, she’s always there to support me, giving me what I need to succeed. I am very grateful!

  52. Thanks so much to everyone who wrote. I know I’m going to go back and re-read these again; such wonderful stories!

    The winner is commenter #6, Julie P. (as a few people predicted). Thanks to everyone!

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