Finding the perfect Christmas gift

I typically don’t do a lot for Christmas. Since it’s just been my dog Roxy and I for so many years, it wasn’t pressing to decorate. I may hang up a tree I got from Ecuador made from green string and I usually put out a reindeer from Willow Bill.

But this year, being married with two step-kids, it called for more festivity — tree, stockings, lights and gifts.


To me, getting gifts for the people I love is one of my favorite things. I mostly like coming up with the ideas, shopping is the bane of my existence.

This year, the pressure is heightened. I’m hoping for that magical Christmas experience.

So I grabbed some people at the Holiday Extravaganza and Open House on Wednesday evening to recognize the partnership between the Carson City Visitors Bureau and Nevada Day.

I asked them to share with me either the best gift they ever gave or ever received in hopes of being inspired for the perfect gift.

Bob Williams, who works for Offsite Data Depot, said Christmas came early this year when his granddaughter, Abigail Marie, was born three months ago.

“They’re all so special, but she’s probably going to be my last one,” he said. “I’m going to spoil her rotten.”

Sharon Rosse, executive director at Capital City Arts Initiative, had a similar favorite gift.

“There was a new Christmas stocking hanging for baby Simpson,” she recalled. “It took me a while sitting there to actually see it.”

Sheri Dunn recalled the best gift she ever gave. It was the early 90s and her husband, Joel, had befriended a homeless woman named Arlene who spent most of her time in and around Mills Park. She typically spent winters in Sacramento, but hadn’t made it by Christmas of that year.

“We bought her a week in a hotel room just so she could get out of the cold and be inside for Christmas,” Dunn said. “That was one of the most rewarding things we ever did. We knew she was safe and warm. She left for Sacramento shortly after that.”

Kyle Horvath, marketing director for the visitors bureau, gave his son his first mountain bike four years ago.

“Each gift leading into it was a bike theme,” he said. “It was a clue to the next gift that led him through the house. He ended up in the garage with a shiny new bike. It was awesome.”

Jeff Moser got his favorite gift 17 years ago.

“We found out Kristy was pregnant with Charlie on Christmas,” Moser said. “That was the best gift. Everything else was just stuff.”

For James Salanoa, assistant marketing director for the visitors bureau, his best gift was the one that got the best laugh.

“I gave a small pillow to my mom,” he said. “It said, ‘We’ve been through a lot together, and I want you to know it’s all your fault.’ She thought that was hilarious.”

What I learned from all the answers is what we’ve always known, but gets easy to forget when we get caught up in the fervor of buying presents. The most memorable gifts aren’t the gifts themselves (except the babies).

The magic comes from the love that inspired the giving of the gift or the love in receiving it. That’s what I will try to capture this Christmas.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at


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