Saturday, November 16, 2013

the best gift givers

Walking through the department store I see the signs of the holidays already out shining and glittery to catch all the eyes of the consumers coming in to just grab some diapers or a gallon of milk. What they usually walk out with though is a cart full of Christmas add-on's that never seem to stop finding their way into our homes. I love glitter and Christmas galore as much as the next festive person. Don't get me wrong. I indulge in the spirit of Christmas and get carried away with traditions as my children get older and look forward to them every year. I get excited when the calendar flips and says it is the day after Thanksgiving so we can go tree hunting and put a freshly cut fir in our house. I have a love/hate relationship with hanging the lights outside and getting some Christmas cards in the mail. But I also get a little burnt out on finding what should really be under our tree each year. Under our trees and in our hearts.

I spend 363 days a year trying to control the "stuff" in my house. I watch my kids play with 25% of the things they get as gifts. If you are reading this and have been a gift giver to my children, please don't take this the wrong way. We are so grateful for such boys love having a fun new toy. But the buzz usually only lasts a short time and soon that latest action figure or Tonka truck quickly finds it way to the back of the shelf too soon forgotten. What stays fresh in front of my children's eye sight though is this...  time. Not the hour hand clicking by second by second, but the minutes spent with them. The undistracted time spent gifting them with love...and laughter...and action...and patience...and joy...and an experience. A gift that they tuck into their heart and can't open on Christmas morning, but all year through. This gift of time is not found in the glitter and the lights as you roam the stores looking for the perfect gift. It's found right where you are already. You are here. So give your time to the ones who matter the most.

A mountain of gifts under the tree doesn't make me feel more loved. Doesn't make me think "this is Christmas". I gather my children will look back some day and think the same thing. They won't remember the gifts they opened from a box, but rather the gifts they participated in through their childhood. The time they spent opening the gift of sharing a life together.

In a culture where companies hit the black this time of year, but people's souls dip into the red, why wouldn't we invest in something more for our hearts? Instead of spending every other day of the year trying to keep up with the stuff that consumes our homes, why not keep up with the little feet running ahead of us and walk along-side the bodies that need a hand, not another thing to fill them up? Wouldn't we benefit from spending our resources on a place that leaves an imprint on someones life, rather then leaves a debt to be paid in our mailbox every month? Can we see past the glitz and black Friday's deals and holiday shopping lists and really look into the souls that we are trying to buy the perfect gift for? Can we find the  time to really give what is needed, rather than give what will be forgotten as soon as that tree comes down?

I am slowly being lured into the Christmas tradition of giving less in the eyes of my culture, but in doing so much more in the eyes of those on my gift buying list. I will be playing Christmas music soon, watering a freshly cut tree in my home everyday, baking little stars and jingle bells, placing coins in the red buckets, attending parties, and most of all... I hope I will be making the time to give the gifts that really matter. Won't you join me? I have always loved giving gifts. But the best gift givers in my life are those who have given me their time. I want to keep that tradition more then any other this time of year...

1 comment:

  1. Last year we started doing 3 gifts for each kiddo...a want, a need and something to read. They were all for it and we plan on continuing this for years to come. It definitely took the "pressure" of buying gifts out of the holiday season for me. And it's made them think a lot about what they put on their lists since they know they aren't going to have a huge pile of gifts under the tree. They really seemed to appreciate the gifts that they got last year more than other years. :-)