What we want most of all is to know people care. Caring can be shown with an object but more often it is our time that is most appreciated. Instead of another toy that will be broken or discarded how about a day spent with a young one introducing them to a new an exciting experience. I recall in the most amazing detail the day my grandmother took my younger sister and me on a day trip by train and back by bus to a nearby city to have lunch and shop. And by shop I mean we each bought a fancy comb at Woolworth’s. The real gift was an experience we had never had before. We’d never traveled by train or bus before. It was fascinating and exciting. It was back in the time of black porters in starched white uniforms and crisp linen tablecloths in the dining car. We felt very important, indeed, dressed in our Sunday best, taking dainty bites of ice cream out of small metal dishes. All through the day our grandmother guided us through each new experience, gently reminding us of our manners and how to act like ladies. Now that’s a gift you can’t wrap up but it will never be forgotten and it’s priceless.
For several years now my father receives a fishing license from my two brothers and with that, the understanding that they will be taking him fishing over the summer months. Nothing delights my father more than the prospect of spending time with his boys on the lake. And if they happen to catch a fish, all the better.
For the past few years instead of exchanging gifts with my best friend we take each other out to lunch between our two birthdays. Although we talk on the phone regularly we don’t get the “face time” we used to and this is an opportunity for just that. Sitting across the table from a dear friend and knowing it’s better than any gift we could come up with.
Time is the most valuable thing we have and it stands to reason that it is also the most prized gift we have to give to those we love and care about.