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In our society we have turned much of this holiday into focusing our efforts on gift giving.  For some people, choosing gifts is stressful, but I enjoy the gift giving aspect because I enjoy shopping!  I can see that the focus on gifts could be considered overdone. “What do you want from Santa,” we ask small children. “Are you ready for Christmas,” we ask, really meaning “Have you finished your shopping?”  And then the all familiar, “What did you get for Christmas?”  This is one of my favorites (NOT!), and sure to make one of you feeling a little worse about yourself than when you began the conversation.  “Your husband got you a new coffee mug--oh that’s great; I got a fur coat.”  You see my point. Why do we do that?  Hopefully, as adults we find our greatest joy in the giving, not the getting as we may have done as children. When I think of my fondest gift-related memories, they really are about GIVING that perfect gift, not RECEIVING it. As my dad began to get older, yes, he may have enjoyed a new sweater or an gadget or two, but he usually received far more items that he needed.  Don’t we all?  It seems like his best and most valued gifts were coupons that we would make to do acts of service for him--one coupon good for cleaning windows, cleaning out the refrigerator, closet, pantry, medicine cabinet.   After my dad passed away we found medicine that was 20 years old!  Coupons could also be about driving them to a favorite restaurant or to run errands.  We learned that the best gift to him was to spend time with him--to love him by serving him, by enjoying time with him, by putting him before ourselves. The greatest act of love is usually about time and not just stuff.  We all reach the point in life where we do not NEED one more knick knack, clothing item or device. But at the same time as someone older is not needing any THING, they may be needing more HELP.  So this year when contemplating the perfect gift for your parent, go to the computer and type out a coupon to go along with that new tie or cozy blanket!

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