A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 25, 2013
“It’s the thought that counts”

"It’s the thought that counts” is sometimes said when someone buys an inexpensive gift. An article about Christmas giving in 1885 stated:

“It is not the value of what is given that is to be considered. It is the friendly thought which counts.”


(Oxford English Dictionary)
it is the thought that counts and variants: the value (to the recipient of a gift) lies in the goodwill or affection with which the gift is given (chiefly as a comment on an unwanted or poor gift, or one that is not given); also in extended use.
1885 Spirit Lake (Iowa) Beacon 1 Jan. 1/4 It is not the value of what is given that is to be considered. It is the friendly thought which counts.
1904 Lowell (Mass.) Sun 30 Apr. 8/2 It isn’t the quantity; it is the thought that counts.
1961 C. McCullers Clock without Hands iv. 78 A house-warming present..not too modern or attractive, but it’s the thought that counts.

23 December 1885, New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, NH), “Christmas Giving,” pg. 1, col. 6:
It is not the value of what is given that is to be considered. It is the friendly thought which counts.

Chronicling America
30 December 1886, McCook (NE) Tribune, “As to Christmas Giving,” Supplement, pg. 7, col. 5:
It is not the value of what is given that is to be considered. It is the friendly thought which counts.

22 December 1898, The Patriot (Harrisburg, PA), pg. 5 ad:
Even though the gift be small in value, what matter that? It is the thought that counts.
(Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart—ed.)

30 April 1904, Lowell (MA) Sun, Kate Clyde column, pg. 8, col. 2:
A man will send a girl a cart load of flowers and then perhaps forget her on her birthday. It isn’t the quantity; it is the thought that counts.

3 December 1907, Morning World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 9, col. 5:
Inexpensive Christmas Remembrances.
Even with the stringency in the money market, there is no necessity of cutting out all Christmas remembrances. it is the thought that counts, and not the money value of the gift.

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s the thought that counts
Author: Charles M Schulz
Publisher: [S.l.] : United Feature Syndicate, Inc., ©1972.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s the Thought that Counts: A Signed Digraph Analysis of Gift-Giving
Author: Russell W Belk
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: The Journal of Consumer Research, v3 n3 (Dec., 1976): 155-162
Database: JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV Collection
Summary:
This article presents and tests a model of gift selection based on cognitive consistency theories. The model, which is supported by the data presented, offers a means for predicting the conditions under which giver tastes or recipient tastes dominate gift selection, and for predicting the amount of satisfaction which the gift brings the giver.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, December 25, 2013 • Permalink