Gift Time

“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.

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Pohutukawa tree

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Man with gifts

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.


    • 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


19 responses to “Gift Time

  1. I completely agree with you about the gifts. We don’t buy for the adults in our family because we finally figured out that with our budget, the recipient would have already bought the gift we gave them if they had really wanted it. We don’t exchange gifts for Thanksgiving. We cook a ridiculous amount of food instead 🙂


    • So true. We stretch our budget to include unnecessary gifts. And I heard today that a friend’s granddaughter wanted to give her teacher a gift. I think a card will be sufficient in this case. 🙂


  2. I love the 6 gifts that don’t cost a cent.


  3. I loved the six gifts too. Each one of those is precious


  4. Thank you for this timely and wise post Judith!


  5. Just lovely. I’m on a budget, so these gifts are definitely worth giving.


  6. Your lovely post is a reminder of what giving really means and the things that are most important to us all – consideration, courtesy, appreciation, love. We don’t exchange gifts here in Virginia at Thanksgiving, but mostly celebrate being together to share a meal and give thanks for the good things in our lives.


  7. Okay..39 days is too scarey!! But I love your gift ideas..they are perfect!


    • Well Chris – now it’s 37 days and 16 hours. I love Christmas and the rush and bustle but do think it is now all about consumerism and commercialism. We can easily forget it’s about sharing and being together.


  8. The Pohutakawa tree is beautiful! The red and green, too! Love it.
    I wish the spirit of Christmas and giving lasted all year long. The presents you suggest are perfect any day of the week – any time of the year.
    Thank you, Judith!


    • The Maoris here believe that if the Pohutakawa blooms early we will have a good summer. These magnificent trees in our suburb are in full bloom, so fingers crossed.


  9. Pingback: Simple, Heartfelt Gifts to Make for Christmas « The Famous Frugalista

  10. Love that tree, it’s stunning! 🙂


    • The Pohutakawa tree is like a beacon shining the way forward. I love it. There are many around the country safeguarded from destruction or een much pruning by designation/notification from the Historic Places Trust.


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