Give The Gift of Your Time

Dan making a cardboard castle with our daughter

The Holidays can be a crazy time dominated by shopping, traveling, parties, post office runs, and more shopping.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  The better question might be “For whom do we do this?”  Surely, our children aren’t happier when we trade quality moments with them for stressful dashes to the mall.  Maybe we can learn from the Amish, who have a saying: “The best thing you can spend on your children is time.”  It is a truth easily forgotten this time of year when giant toy catalogs clog the mailbox and commercials are dedicated to turning your child into a battery-operated-cheap-plastic-toy junkie.  Don’t worry.  Take a deep breath.  Find comfort in knowing that you can return the joy and simple pleasures back to your holidays.  It is up to you, not the toy companies.  By all means, have fun giving gifts, but prize quality over quantity.  Inexpensive plastic toys, besides being wastefully over-packaged and laden with chemicals, often have a short lifespan in the hands of a child.  Be thoughtful when shopping and use your purchasing power wisely.  You can enjoy the process of gift-giving without going overboard.  Above all, give the gift of your time.  No toy or showy gift can replace the memories of time spent with loved ones.   I have wonderful childhood memories of making tents out of chairs and blankets with my sister, icing sugar cookies with my mom, sledding down snowy slopes with my family, and decorating the Christmas tree.  I cherish those special times over possessions I once owned.  I’ll end here with an Amish proverb: “The best things in life are not things.”  So true!

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