It’s the holiday time again. The time when we are supposed to be friendly and loving. We are supposed to feel that eternal peace of the holiday season. The angels are singing for joy and the menorah is glowing with happiness. The scent of evergreen is in the air and bell ringers are out by the hundreds.
Then reality hits and you realize just how much you it’s possible to hate someone youHow long has it been since you have spent an afternoon with a grandparent, spoken to your mother for longer then 10 minutes, or visited a cousin you had not seen since you were children? don’t even know. People are rude, angry and in a hurry. You swear that the man with the bell is giving you dirty looks when you walk by his bucket and don’t drop any money in. And there always seems to be one person who jumps down your throat because you have the nerve to frown, which means you aren’t in the proper holiday spirit.
Cashiers are irritable, sales reps are harried and lets not even talk about what it’s going to be like at the stores on Christmas Eve. The only phrase that can properly described that ordeal is “desperate feeding frenzy”.
And why is this? Mostly because of the gifts given during the holiday season. We spend days stressing over the perfect gift, once we find it we stand in miles of lines to pay for it. Then there is the wrapping and in some cases you have to stand in the post office line to mail it. For most people, December isn’t the month of holiday cheer. It’s the month of stress and anxiety. Constantly worried over whether you sent the right thing, or sometimes whether you are even going to have the money to get anyone anything this year. And how much overtime you may have to do, if you want to give presents.
However, think about those people you are sending presents to. Most of them loved ones that you care deeply for. You are going through this stress because you love them. You want to show them how much you love them. There are better ways though. Think about it, how often do you actually see these people that mean so much to you?
This is my suggestion. Instead of giving a store bought gift this year, give your time instead. How long has it been since you have spent an afternoon with a grandparent, spoken to your mother for longer then 10 minutes, or visited a cousin you had not seen since you were children? A cousin that was probably your best friend as a child, but you can never seem to meet up now?
We keep giving these material gifts, trying to show our family just how important they are to us. But they don’t want our money. Usually, they would rather see you spend the money on yourself and your family. But nothing can replace your presence. No gift can replace the joy your physical self can bring.
We spend all of our time hunting for the perfect gift, but the people we love would rather have that time used to be with them instead. They would rather see us and share in our happiness or our pain, then to be given some trinket that they cannot hug or talk with.
Make cookies with the grandmother who hasn’t baked with you since you were in elementary school. She probably misses you. Sit down with your parents and spend actual time. Hopefully, not arguing.
If you can’t be there in person, at least call them. The sound of your voice could bring a smile to their face. It could brighten an otherwise lonely day.
Giving your time tells someone that they are important and that they are cared for and loved. It makes them feel special. And that is one of the best gifts that you can give.
But don’t let this happen only at Christmas. We all have busy schedules, but for some of our relatives, especially our older ones, the year can get quite lonely. Remember that there’s nothing like a hug especially when it is given in person.