The best Christmas gift of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
~ Woodmen of the World Magazine
Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I thought the two quotes above gave much to ponder for a Sunday in this Christmas season. Did you catch the play on words in the first quote? “Presence” sounds like “presents.” Read it again with that thought in mind. “Presence (presents) of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. Very clever and insightful.
We recently celebrated my father’s 81st birthday. In recent years he has made it clear he doesn’t want any purchased gifts; only the gift of time, love, and attention. Considering this my wife and I decided to have a party where each member of the family finished the following sentence, “I remember when Grandpa….”. My kids loved it and so did my Dad. There was much laughter as we recalled many fun memories together.
I tried to think of as many words as I could that I associate with my Dad. Here are a few: Boxing (he was a southpaw Junior Golden Gloves back in the day), Buicks (that’s all he drove for almost 50 years until he finally broken down and bought an Acura), Batman (my Dad is Batman. Our garage was the Batcave), Almond Roca (I never did acquire a taste for those), and a few other inside jokes. As each word and memory was shared the closeness and love in the room became stronger. It was a wonderful experience.
As my Dad left our home he whispered to my wife that it was one of the best birthdays he’s had. He was pleased. We were edified. No purchased gifts, only happy memories.
Now think about the second quote. The only true gift is a portion of thyself. Think of what my Dad asked for as a gift – time, love, and attention. Those can be considered a “portion” of ourselves don’t you think?
I encourage you to not wait until Christmas to get all wrapped up in your family. Spend time together as a family now and give a portion of yourself to those you love. It will make the holidays joyful and bright.
Choose to give true gifts. Choose to give a portion of yourself. Choose to have the “presents” of a happy family.