What do you consider a gift? How do you define it?

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who’s a single mother of five. She shared how different this year’s holiday season would be for her and her family. “It is unlike any other,” she said. It is, for almost every one of us.  We all had to pivot this year. We all continue to adjust, allowing ourselves the patience to look at things from a fresh vantage point, the willingness to stretch and do things differently.

My friend is concerned about her ability to fulfill this year’s Christmas tradition.  During our visit, I asked her to share her Christmas tradition with me. When she was a young girl, around 5-6 years old, she and her siblings would come home from a Christmas Eve mass with her parents. They would then have dinner, and each would open one gift.  This is a gift from her parents. Gifts from Santa would only come after midnight, so they had to wait until Christmas Day to open them. This tradition continues until today, she said, which she adopted for her family. They would always open one gift on Christmas eve, the rest will be the next morning. This year, she knows things will change. “I feel we’ll only open one gift each, that’s all I may be able to afford,” she was emotional about it. She has two younger children who still believe in Santa, and she doesn’t want to spoil the magic yet. The last five years, I’ve known her as a creative person. She has a knack for turning unused things into something, she has an eye for repurposing things. I challenged her to consider stepping out of the Christmas box this year, and rally the children to create something for each other, as a secret Santa. She was game for it. I can’t wait to hear how her Christmas unfolds later.

My visit with her has awakened a knowing within me and helped me look at gift-giving from a different point of view, especially this year. I had a similar memory about Christmas. It was a time for family gathering, for sure, but gifts were always part of it. I remember being involved in a few conversations around gift-giving for this season, way back when. Some people already thought about redefining the idea of gift-giving. This year may just be the right time to kick it into higher gear. Why not?

Thirteen years ago, my husband bought me a book by Cami Walker, as a Christmas gift. It’s called “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life”. I shared the idea of this book with my friend during our conversation. It lifted her spirit, and the idea of a secret Santa for her children unfolded. Cami’s book has nothing to do with Christmas, it’s about her healing journey from MS, but I know it’s perfect for redefining gift-giving. Check it out if you have time. It is a powerful story!

Can you challenge yourself to be creative this year with gift-giving? Two more days before Christmas arrives. Most of us work well with deadline. What can you do from where you are with what you have to make this year a memorable one? I know all humans are much more creative than they realize, they only need to step outside of the box. Give it a go, make it uniquely yours. Give the word ‘gift’ a new twist. It may change someone’s life, and it may surprise you as well (that’s also a gift!).

Enjoy a brand-new, never-before experienced Christmas this year. Have a healthy and merry one.


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