Gifts of time and love
“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” — Peg Bracken
I love Christmas! But it can be exhausting and stressful, particularly when invitations, intentions and demands are far greater than the time (and maybe also the money) to fulfill them. In recent years I have reminded myself to focus on the basic ingredients, and delight in what I’m able to do rather than longing for the extras I’d want to enjoy in an ideal holiday season.
One rule I follow at Christmas is to do nothing out of a sense of obligation, but simply for the sheer joy of it. I prefer sending small gifts and cards so that nobody feels a need to reciprocate. What I don’t have time to finish doesn’t get done, and I don’t pressure myself to bake, decorate or entertain unless time and opportunity allow it. Jeff’s illness has meant that many of our traditional festivities have been impossible in the past few years, but our holidays still have been filled with celebration and joy amid all the uncertainties and losses.
As I have savored various Christmas activities this year, from decorating the tree to wrapping presents to listening to Christmas music, I realize that most of what I know about these things, I learned from my Daddy. I am filled with thankfulness to him for showing us how to celebrate the yuletide abundantly without spending a lot of money or going into debt. He is so much a part of my memories of Christmas that it has been easier than it might have been to endure his physical absence this holiday. His spirit permeates everything about the season, so it’s almost as if he is still here with us.
I’m also grateful to so many of you whose presence I feel just as surely during this time. The gifts of time and love you have sent me over the past three years have lightened my burdens and brightened my life. My hope for each of you is that your December is filled with showers of blessings, shining brightly, warming your heart and home.