The value of Christmas and Hanukkah isn’t found in the glossy pages of mail order catalogs, the frenetic hype of TV commercials, or the slick graphics of the dot com world. Nope, my greatest enjoyment on Christmas morning has never come from knowing how much my gifts cost, or that they’re the latest thing, but rather that my son or daughter cared enough to take the time to buy or make a gift for me that was something truly meaningful to me not just a pretty package to place under an already over-burdened tree.
A tin box filled with a dozen handmade cookies from my aging neighbor, even though she may have accidentally substituted salt for sugar again this year, are cookies made all the sweeter because of the love poured into each one. Christmas without those cookies just wouldn’t be Christmas. My favorite gifts to receive are the ones that require some time, not just some money and the biggest, baddest elbows to get to this year’s best- seller before the rest of the mob. I like knowing that I’ve been thought about by my loved ones and dear friends, that I’m more than just another checkmark on their holiday to do list.
And as much as I like to receive handmade gifts, I like giving them even more. My favorite gifts to give have always been the ones that I’ve made with my own two hands; one year a blanket, another year an oak mantle clock assembled from a kit. I sanded and varnished and sanded again, with each stroke I imagined the smile on Dad’s face when he unwrapped it Christmas morning. And he did smile and that clock still ticks on that mantle.
Sit back for just a moment. Put up your feet, close your eyes and think back over the years to the best gifts you’ve given and received. What made that gift so special? Was it how much it cost, or the store that it came from, or the fact that it wouldn’t be paid for until next December? Probably not.
I invite you to give gifts from your heart and not your pocketbook this year. This year leave the credit card debt behind and bury that Christmas tree in love, not glossy frivolity that leaves behind a big mess, a stomachache, and a big stack of bills.
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