One of the things I love about owning a store like Benjamin Twiggs is the relationships that develop over time with our regular customers. Mrs. O is a great example. Every year she had called in her Christmas order promptly at the beginning of December – to make sure that we had time to get everything to her loved ones in time for Christmas. She’s just that kind of lady, and it’s as much her generation as her identity.

Imagine my surprise when it didn’t come from her, but from her husband in 2012. I could hear the heaviness in his voice. Mrs. O had recently passed away. He asked if we could pull up the usual orders and get it sent out, like always – one last time.

We got the usual order together and added one more gift box at our expense for the new widower. We added a little note, trying to express our deepest sympathies – and promising to keep him in our thoughts and prayers that Christmas.

Not long after the gifts went out, Mr. O called me back, with a different catch in his voice this time. He was overwhelmed with gratitude over our simple gesture. He told me that it wasn’t just an extra gift he had received, but a hug from a friend.

That entirely made my day – and I told him as much! In his big booming voice, he replied: “You made my life!”

Since then, he calls every year with an order – and we spend some time chatting about his family. He tells me that he looks forward to our chats all year. When we hang up, I get everything packaged up for his loved ones – and always include a little “gift hug” from myself.

Every year that goes by, I look forward to his call. I’ll miss him when the call stops coming because I will have lost a special friend.

Cherish the relationships in your life. Christmas hugs come in many forms. While we ship them out every year for our customers’ loved ones – sometimes it’s as simple as taking the time for a phone call. May this Holiday season bless you and your loved ones and encourage you to “hug” someone you haven’t in a while.

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