Monday, December 16, 2013

The gift of time

Perhaps you're already done with your holiday shopping. Maybe you've even got the gifts wrapped and under the tree.

If you haven't finished shopping, however, here's an idea: Don't overlook the gift of time. One of the best gifts can be spending time with loved ones and friends. Promise to take your children, perhaps one at a time, to a special concert or event. Or promise to polish your partner's shoes or bake her or his favorite pie. Or you might offer a month's worth of allowing your spouse to sleep late on Saturdays while you tend to the children and keep them quiet. What's something that would really put a smile on that other person's face—and wouldn't even cost you a penny?

If you want to spend money and still give time, that works too. One grandmother told me recently she'd taken each of her grandchildren, one at a time, shopping for their Christmas gifts. She'd given them a spending limit, but they could choose anything they wanted for that amount. After the purchases, they had stopped for hot chocolate. What special moments for both grandma and grandchild. I've done that for birthdays but hadn't yet done so for Christmas. But I like the idea. You can still wrap up the gifts if they want something under the tree.

Tangible gifts are such fun. But so are the intangibles of time and attention. Get creative and crazy. I'm sure you can come up with some great gift ideas that will blow the socks off your friends and family. And you'll experience such delight both in creating the idea and in spending the time with the other person.

It's all about savoring the season—and enjoying the people who are most important to you. It's not about wearing yourself out to give everyone else a wonderful Christmas experience. Time: It's a wonderful gift.

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