I grew up poor. Oh, not like the poor today, with cell phones and cable tv and air conditioning. I mean the kind of poor where hot water and new shoes once a year were luxuries. If or when I did get something new it usually occurred at one of three occasions: the beginning of school, my birthday and Christmas. The rest of the time, if it cost money it might have well not existed.
Back then, getting a gift (singular) was special. I still like getting gifts, especially if the gift has a special meaning behind it. But, if it’s the choice between a gift or spending time with someone special, I’d rather spend time making memories than getting gifts that will just collect dust or get thrown out when it’s no longer useful.
For my birthday this year, I made a lot of new memories in New York with Declan. With all of the books I brought home, those memories will be with me for a long time. (I just finished the first book. Only about a dozen to go.)
So, here is my Christmas Gift Guide for this year. Enjoy.
- Gift the gift of knowledge. Education is always a gift that lasts forever. It doesn’t have to cost anything. Something as simple as teaching another a useful skill is free and makes for memorable stories later on. I still remember the hilarious failed attempts of my Aunt Jan to teach me how to knit. For whatever reason, the loops went back and forth between needles, but that was as far as it went. My aunt gave up after a while, but the attempts were fun. You can also check out my book Pendragon Academy’s 100 Best Online Learning Links for lots of fun websites about learning.
- Gift of books. For book lovers, this should be a no-brainer. Books are a great way to fall in love all over again, travel to far off worlds, solve an interesting mystery or to just escape reality for a little while. If you want a list of great books to read, check out Declan’s list over at A Pius Geek, the Catholic Writers Guild blog, any of my reviews or my Kindle short story, Saint Lucian’s Star.
- Gift that is homemade. Homemade gifts are my favorite kind of gifts. One does not simply go pick up a homemade gift off the shelves of a store. Homemade gifts take effort and thought. One year, I crocheted scarves for each of my favorite children. It took me hours to make them, but it was so worth the effort.
- Gift of time. With so much going on, people you care about can get pushed to the side. Make time for them. Do something to make good memories or give gifts, such as tickets to events, that let them make memories with others they care about. Time is the one gift that can never be made up later.