Oh the holidays! A time of love. A time for family. A time for celebration. A time for stress?
Unfortunately, yes. While the holidays bring a lot of joy, they also bring a lot of stress, especially when it comes to getting the “perfect” gift for our loved ones.
So why is gift giving so stressful? Why do we even get gifts for people at the holidays? Well, I imagine that we give gifts because we want to show our appreciation, our love, and our connection t0 those important people in our lives. We want to let them know that we are thinking about them, that we care about them, and that we want them to be happy. So, we go to the mall, go on Amazon, or sometimes we even get crafty in order to satisfy those gift giving goals. But how often do people really feel that love, connection or appreciation through the gifts that we purchase? I would guess not often. In fact, I would say that most gifts get returned, thrown out or put in boxes never to be seen or used again. So, if not something material, what gift can we get that would express our love and appreciation for our friends and family during the holidays?
I think that the best gift we can give is the gift of time. Giving up our time, which is often very valuable in the busy and hectic world we live in today, to really be present with those that we care about is the only gift that I believe really expresses our love, appreciation, and value for our relationships.
Time is a gift my parents have asked me for every year since I became and adult and began having a life of my own. I remember thinking, great, time is certainly cheap, but time is not really a gift. A gift is something you can wrap and others can open. So, I would try to think of something meaningful or special to get them, because that was important to me. But, without fail, I would end up getting them something silly and useless that maybe they wanted but certainly didn’t need.
It wasn’t until recently, especially after I had my daughter, that I realized how valuable time really is. It is those moments that we spend with those we love that create memories and feelings that last forever. It is that time together that fosters strong relationships. It is the act of giving our time that communicates our love.
As I think back on my life, it is not the toys or clothes or electronics that my parents got me that I think fondly of and cherish. What I remember, what I hold on to, are the memories of Christmas Eve dinners with my family. I think about my grandma reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to me before bed every Christmas Eve. I think about our family gatherings around the holidays and the conversations we had. I imagine if you think about it, those are the memories that stick out to you as well.
So, this holiday season, don’t waste your time or money searching for the “perfect” gift at the mall. Instead, give your loved ones the best gift, the gift of time.