Presence vs. Presents

Every store in America has been adorned with holiday ornamentals since the leaves started to turn color in early September. That is their way of preparing shoppers for the coming gifting season. Purchase early to avoid the holiday rush! But have you considered what might happen if we shared our presence instead of giving and receiving presents?

With and online resellers so visible in the marketplace, many shoppers buy whatever they need without giving it a second thought. Credit cards are stored so all it takes is the click of a button and a gift (for you or another) lands on your doorstep in just a few days. Long gone are the days of meandering through stores to search for that perfect sweater or spending time to choose the card with wording that will “speak” to the receiver. With packed schedules and responsibilities a-brimming, we often push shopping until the last minute, leaving many of us scrambling through whatever is left to find a gift that our loved ones will hold dear.

But many will likely agree: moments are cherished for far longer than gifts. Lunch and a meaningful conversation mean much more to a grandparent than a pair of slippers. Likewise, children will talk fondly of an experience much longer than they will the hottest toy. Once the initial excitement wears off, what remains? Toys don’t leave lasting memories, people do.

So this holiday season, as you are writing your shopping lists, set aside a piece of paper for one more list—your best attributes. Write down everything that makes you unique. What does your presence add to a conversation? Do you have a knack for jokes or a collection of fond memories? Can you cook a delicious meal, create a slideshow with favorite pictures or share a funny movie? Are you able to shut off your phone for an entire day to truly, deeply enjoy those around you? We all have something to give. And often, in searching within, we realize that our innate gifts are blessings to all those around us.