“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”
William A. Ward, American writer 1921–1994
We know that Christmas is only 39 days away as I write this. And by the time you read it, it will be even closer – click here to see just how close.
The shops here are full of decorations and Christmas carols are being played over their sound systems. For those who work in those stores, I guess that this will all quickly pall. And we have Christmas in the summer so the scenes of snow, sleighs and houses with firesmoke coming out the chimney make even less sense.
Here in New Zealand nature has given us our own Christmas Tree – the Pohutakawa that blooms from November to January – so it’s nickname is the NZ Christmas tree. It survives all around New Zealand, is evergreen and has these amazing bright red flowers that shout out Christmas! to us. By the way it is pronounced just as it is written po-hu-ta-ka-wa. Try it.
Of course the reason for the music and decorations is to get us to spend our hard-earned money on gifts that we (possibly) can’t afford and the recipients (probably) don’t want and (also probably) don’t need . But year after year we continue with this mad gift buying, giving and exchanging.
In our family we have cut down on a lot of this giving. We give to children but not adults, except in my case as I just can’t ignore my children and their spouses. But I have been given a strict limit of how much I can spend on each person (adult or child) by my daughter.
I have also cut down the number of friends to whom I give gifts. This number is now down to only two or three. See comment above about recipients of gifts.
And of course, for those of you in the US you have Thanksgiving looming. Do you exchange gifts on this day?
So I began to think about some gifts that cost nothing but are well received whenever they are shared.
SIX GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A CENT
- The Gift of Listening- But you must really listen. Don’t interrupt, don’t daydream, don’t plan your response. Just listen.
- The Gift of Affection- Be generous with hugs and/or kisses (where appropriate) and pats on the back. Let these small actions demonstrate the love and respect you have for family and friends.
- The Gift of Laughter – Share funny articles and stories. Send cartoons that have a meaning. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
- The Gift of a Favour – Every day, go out of your way to do something kind. This is one of my favourites.
- The Gift of a Written Note – A simple “Thanks for the help, dinner or whatever” note. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a long time.
- The Gift of a Compliment – A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” ”You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.
Gifts don’t have to cost the earth; they don’t have to add to our credit card debt; they don’t have to be big and fancy; they just have to be well thought out and given with love. No doubt you will be giving gifts to your nearest and dearest family and friends this Christmas, but think about these six gifts that you can give at any time during the year. No special occasion. Just a gift of sharing.
The only gift is a portion of thyself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson American essayist,
lecturer, and poet. 1803 – 1882