We spend so much of our year tending to different personal and professional needs but when we look back on all that busyness, how much of it is meaningful and what is meaningful to us?
Thankfully the Christmas season, whether observed or not, is a time when a majority of us place greater emphasis on the quality of time that we are able to spend with the people who mean the most to us.
From giving of our time to help total strangers in a soup kitchen to spending time and money arriving at the right gift to make a family member or good friend smile – the emphasis right now is on giving something of ourselves to another that is “meaningful.”
We can struggle for hours to come up with a “meaningful” gift for others. Fulfilling a need that someone has is of course meaningful – especially to that person. But gifts can grow in meaning simply because they reflect the care and time the giver dedicated to creating or extending the gift itself. Sometimes children can spend hours creating the perfect popsicle stick house as a gift for Mom and Dad. That popsicle stick artwork can be as valuable to those parents as any high-end gift item from a store.
There is of course the other kind of time we spend just “being” with others. Our homes become places where we want to extend that sense of welcoming and care. From the moment our guests and family members enter the door to the time they leave, we want their time within our homes to be memorable.
So we fixate over details from scented boughs over the doorway to visually enchanting center pieces, to the most delectable savory and sweet items on the menu.
And as we develop our preferences over the years some people eventually move into homes that can better accommodate their growing appreciation for creating a space that’s not just a “space” but an extension of themselves.
We might choose homes with custom features that make it easier for us to entertain. Or we might choose to downsize our homes to allow us the resources and flexibility to entertain more regularly and more comfortably.
Ultimately as our society zooms ahead on the waves of ever increasing technological advances that enable us to do more with the time we have, there is at the same time a growing desire among many people to capture some of the simple pleasures of the past.
From welcoming carollers to the front porch, to sharing in some good cheer and conversation in the family room with old friends and family, it’s not all about “Facebook!”
Even now it’s becoming commonplace for Facebook users to report to others that they are taking a “technology” break in order to connect with the people they see “in real life,” not via a status update on a mobile device.
Dedicating meaningful time to each other and with each other are perhaps some of the best gifts we can give at this time of year…or really anytime of the year.
May the joy and awe of the season bring you and your family much happiness now and in the year ahead.