The holidays are upon us, ready or not. I hope that all of you find the joy you seek most during these, sometimes, stressful times for families. It can be difficult to spend too much time with relatives, but also a blessing in so many ways. I hope your balance is just right.
Our tradition is to play games and watch movies together. These have been long-standing activities for young and old. Finding common games and movies with kids 11 years apart was often a challenge, but also reminded us of childhood when we watched an old favorite that was appropriate for everyone. This family time is one of our children’s favorite memories.
When I ask them to recall what they got for Christmas or what Santa brought when they were children, they rarely remember any specific gifts. They reflect more on time spent with grandparents, cousins, each other, and friends. They recall gathering together to celebrate in many wonderful ways and sharing special holiday dishes that only appear at that time of year. They recall being surprised by something they were sure they would never get but often don’t remember what that item was.
Whatever your traditions are, remember it’s more about the feeling everyone has during the holiday than about the gifts. A friend of mine once told me that her present to everyone that year was her presence. When she heard from a friend, she’d really listen. She sent cards, she sat with sick people, she reached out when others were hurting, and she was present when people needed her.
As the year wraps up, I want to be her. I want to be more present. I hope to spend less time on my phone (Yes, the iPhone is tracking my time, and it’s too much), and I want to really look in the eyes of my loved ones and truly be present when they want my attention. Undivided attention is what we all want and deserve.
Happy holidays to each and every one of you.