The Best Gifts

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the “season of gift giving is upon us.” Ads cannot be escaped for nudging us to buy.  It is hard to immunize ourselves from the message of urgency to get Christmas shopping done and avoid being left out of the best deals and specials.  This group think around the holidays can cause us to lose ourselves in a frenzy of overspending of both money and energy and the crash when it is all over.

A number of years ago “Dear Abby” wrote in a column, “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”  These words may be helpful in planning our approach to the upcoming holiday season.

Spending time not only with children, but with friends and family, takes setting the intention and being adventurous in figuring out how to do this.  Meals can be a good place to start spending time together.  Some families no longer eat together and just take plates to their rooms or to the TV when the food is ready.  Setting the intention and finding time to eat together takes some doing in families with busy schedules. Then there is the issue of re-learning the art of conversation, minus cell phones and tablets.  Ancient rituals like waiting for everyone to be at the table before starting to eat and waiting for everyone to finish can slow down life and help with the process of being together.

The best gift of time, like finding the perfect present, takes some planning.  How could your presence make a difference in everyday life for another?  What new patterns could be built into your schedule?  Can you do the holidays on your own terms this year?  Now is the time to decide how to do the holidays rather than to do them by default, yet one more time.