Its Christmas – my favorite time of the year. I love it for many reasons but most of all I love it because it is an excuse to give, to give gifts of all kinds. Its an excuse to spend time with friends and family, to gather and to work collectively for a cause, even if the cause is simply to put together a spread for loved ones.
This year, the most memorable day may likely not be Christmas day but the day I spent with my sister and niece running around town finishing our Christmas shopping. After wending our way through some crazy old blue haired Florida traffic, grabbing a coffee at the local Starbucks and snagging a parking spot, we finally arrived at T.J. Maxx, where we thought we couldn’t get into too much trouble.
Immediately upon entering the store, we hit the purse section. Each of us threw a purse or two over a shoulder to test the feel while we perused the rest of the field for bargains. We carried one then another leaving the department with handbags draped over arms, shoulders and spilling out of our shopping cart.
We wondered the entire store, dismissed one item for another, tossed garments back and forth over the dividers in the dressing room and laughed at some serious misses. Eventually we headed for the checkout counter, minus any handbags. We loaded our wares in the trunk and piled back into the car heading toward the next destination. Hours later we parted ways, my sister and niece transferred their goods into their car and we exchanged hugs, chuckles and said our goodbyes in the parking lot before going our separate ways.
A couple of days later, I was brought to tears, laughing remembering our day, after my niece, Katelynn, sent a picture of a model wearing a faux fur skirt. The skirt was ridiculous – and just as adorable in the picture as it had been on the hangar.
I loved the skirt the minute I laid my eyes on it at T.J. Maxx. So did Katelynn. It was too cute – a must have for any University of Florida student, especially my favorite and only niece. Until, she tried it on. The fluffy white bundle of fake fluff was definitely cuter on the hangar than it was on my darling niece. Although, looking back, for seventeen bucks we probably should have bought it just for the laughs!
The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving. And the most important gifts we have to give cannot be purchased. All that is required is a willing heart.
When I look back at my favorite Christmas memories, none involve gifts of material goods. My fondest memories revolve around gifts of the heart; compassion for a stranger, granting forgiveness, giving encouragement to someone who is down and spending time with others laughing over fluffy furry skirts.
The gift of time is the single most meaningful gift any of us have to give.