Let’s be honest, our society has some materialistic tendencies. Unfortunately, the deep meaning of holiday gift giving is often masked by a search for the latest gadget and newest trend.
Growing up, the holiday season became a gift-giving competition. My four younger siblings and I were on a constant quest to find the best gift for Mom and Dad. At the conclusion of each season, we would evaluate each other’s gift-giving aptitude and rank each other by who bestowed the finest prize.
Extreme? Sure! But in my family, we compete for everything! Sports, grades and even gifts. Mom and Dad raised competitive children, but when it came to the prize-gifting bonanza, their response was always the same: "We just are happy you are all here."
Yeah right, sure, whatever you say! As kids and even young adults we never believed that. This was a competition. We were confident we could determine the winner each year by a look, a smile or a certain gesture when the offering was unwrapped. But each year they would say the same thing.
With three children of my own now, that consistent message of time appreciation makes more sense. Before, I believed the comments were a disguise of not wanting to recognize the true winner of the holiday challenge. As a parent, I recognize it was a very real and pure statement. They were not concerned with what we gave them. They just wanted all of us together, enjoying our time with family.
While I am a good decade away from having my first kid set off for her college career, I recognize that the time is short. That day will come when they are all out of the home and a whole set of logistics will come into play to even see each other. I do not want to take the time for granted.
The holiday season brings an increase in shopping and spending. Our gifts reflect the love and appreciation we have for those close to us — a small token to show and strengthen our bond with others in our lives. While I buy just as many gifts as the next guy, I do remind myself each year of the greatest gift of all: my time.
Those close to me want my time more than anything, just as I do of them. And with an economy that is still struggling to rebound, many are watching their spending this season. Remember, the best gift we can provide is taking the time to spend with those we love. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we are all looking for?
My younger siblings ridicule me now for mentioning such a foolish notion, as they continue to compete in the gift-giving game. They don’t have kids yet, but I know they will get it eventually.
Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS). Securities products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Lifetime Financial Growth, LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Orange Financial, LLC and Lifetime Financial Growth Company are not affiliates or subsidiaries of PAS or Guardian.
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