The Best Gift I Ever Gave…

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For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), up to $125,000.

Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

Seriously, could you get a better prize?  All I want for Christmas for the next few years is to win this… seriously.  But, as cool as I think the prize is and how awesome SWAGG and Clever Girls are for sponsoring it, I also want to take a moment to applaud SWAGG's commitment to the SU2C organization.  It's why I'm urging all of you to download the FREE app now…  Well, maybe after you read my story about the greatest gift I have ever given someone.

It was Christmas Day two years ago and even though I was having a wonderful Christmas with my husband and my 6 month old baby girl, I was sad because I was really missing someone I'm very close to.  My little sister was half way around the world and I knew she was having a hard time being away for the holidays. 

For the past 3 and a half months my sister had been part of a year-long study abroad program in Cadiz, Spain through the University of Washington.  In that time, we had only been able to talk via Skype every other week when we were able to mesh schedules with the time difference.  Needless to say, it really wasn't a replacement for the twice a week {or more} we were accustomed to seeing each other.  Even though her host family had been good to her, I knew that Christmas that far away from our whole family was incredibly hard for her.

But, all Christmas Day I was looking forward to the rare phone call with my sister scheduled for that evening and I couldn't wait to surprise her with what I was fairly sure was going to be the best present ever.  The call was pretty routine at first, my sister first talked to me and then to my husband, and then we put our baby girl on so she could show off her brand new laugh that was melting all of our hearts. 

But then it was time for presents, so I put the call on speakerphone so we could all talk at once.  My husband first started by asking if there was somewhere special she had gone to dinner in her small Spanish town since she had been there.  After my sister answered I casually asked if there was anyway we could get a table for 4 there. 

The line was silent for a moment and my sister said, "I'm not sure what you're asking…" but it was very clear in her voice that she knew exactly what we were saying.  Before we could even respond she finished with, "are you saying you're coming to visit?" and you could tell she was tearing up on the other line.  "Yes, yes!" I responded, barely able to contain myself because I was so excited, "Dad is sending us and we will be there in less than two weeks!  I hope you don't mind your present is going to be a little late."   

N1126472879_343741_7955862 As great as that call was and the joy in her voice when we told her, the best part was hearing how happy she was even as we finished the call and hung up, which is normally really sad for all of us.  It felt so good giving her something really exciting to look forward to and just knowing that she was going to go to bed happy that night made me so incredibly happy.

Two weeks later, the four of us were bear hugging in an airport in Madrid, the first day in our amazing roadtrip that would take us all around the lower part of Spain and into Morocco.  When I look back now it all just seems so magical.  From exploring big cities to old castle villages and then to the town that my sister called home for over a year, the whole trip really is one of those priceless memories that only happen once in a lifetime. 

Even though she was in the middle of her studies and my husband and I had taken time off work and flown overseas with an infant, everything seemed just so effortless and carefree those weeks we were together in Europe.  Having all these memories of our trip together makes being away from my sister for so many months all seem worth it.  We all now have some really awesome memories of the four of us exploring Spain together and it's something I wouldn't trade for the world. 

Okay, so I know a surprise trip to Spain is a little hard to top, but it made me realize that the best present you can give someone is a great memory.  So now, every year my family makes it a point to get together even more around the holidays.  From ornament making to days walking around in downtown Seattle shopping, Christmas just feels more magical when you're making memories with family! 

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid.  I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity

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