A Sea of Gifts to Discover

Celebrating Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gifts

xmas shell ornament

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

During the holidays when much of the focus is on gifts – what to give and what we’re hoping to receive – the best gifts of all may not be in stores, but waiting for us to discover on the beach.



“The beach is not the place to work, to read, to write or think,” begins Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her much-loved book, written in 1955 – Gift from the Sea.

“Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines…One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea, bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by the tides of all yesterday’s scribbling.”

beach rolling waves

With “patience,” Lindbergh writes, one will come to experience the “gifts from the sea.” Whether it’s a rare shell or a perfectly-rounded stone, a strong emotion or a new sense of awareness, the gifts will come.


Anne Lindbergh

Lindbergh, the wife of famed American aviator Charles Lindbergh, found solace by the sea and shared her musings in her books.

In keeping with this, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel wish you a Christmas stocking filled with your own gifts from the sea:


Simplicity. Studying a sea shell found on a walk, Lindbergh observes how simple it is. “One learns first of all in beach living the art of shedding, how little one can get along with, not how much.”

scallop shell ornament

Solitude. “It is a difficult lesson to learn today…to practice the art of solitude,” writes Lindbergh. Yet, alone on the beach, she “watched the gulls…dip and wheel and dive for the scraps I threw them.” And, felt a kinship. “The beauty of earth and sea and air meant more to me. I was in harmony with it, melted into the universe.”


Friendship. Lindbergh savors the gifts of friendship exchanged on the beach, openly and freely. “The pure relationship, how beautiful it is!” she notes. “Strangers smile at you on the beach, come up and offer you a shell. Nothing is demanded of you in payment, no social rite expected.”


Home. Gazing at the oyster beds, Lindbergh recognizes the importance of home and of “forming ties, roots, a firm base.” She sees each oyster “has its place on the rock to which it has fitted itself perfectly and to which it clings tenaciously.”


Balance. Lindbergh’s closeness to the sea with the ebb and flow of the tides gives her a “balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing.”

teeter totter

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s love of the sea and her patient explorations of the beach environment enabled her to experience and share its gifts.


shells collection

At this holiday season SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti wish you these “gifts from the sea”… and more.

Beach salvage mini-sculpture by OC artist Marty Naftel

Beach salvage mini-sculpture by OC artist Marty Naftel

Happy Holidays!

wreath shell


Patti and Sunny

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

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