What was the most treasured or special gift that you received this year?
Every Christmas and birthday I usually get a mountain of things, usually beauty products, clothing, and a variety of gift cards. And not to say that those weren't great, or that I'm not grateful for them. But most of it was stuff I eventually used up and could get another container/tube/package of.
You can't always do that with time.
For me, the one gift that I consider the most special, as well as personal, was the gift of time. Not just time to be used, but time to be spent with those that mean the world to me. It was mostly the simple things, like getting a cup of coffee or sharing a meal together, even if it was cafeteria food. Every so often it would be something fancy, like getting dressed up and going out dancing. Crazy family gatherings have always been a highlight as well; if my stomach doesn't get filled up with food, it definitely aches from laughing so hard!
But the biggest blessing of all was the conversation; sharing the raw, intimate, and sometimes difficult truths of what goes on in life. If it's not evident from my recent writings by now, I will say that I've become a lot more content and comfortable with the relationships that I've built over the years. I'm not afraid like I used to be. It's all something that I haven't felt in a very long time.
I do value various kinds of sentiments, such as flowers, jewelry, and cards. But as this year draws to a close, I'm starting to realize that I appreciate and get more out of experiences than I do possessions.
I know that the holiday season often revolves around hours worth of shopping and whatever sales you save money from. But if there's one gift you can (and should) give a loved one this year, it's the gift of time. Take a friend out for lunch or coffee and ask them how they're really doing. Pick a person you interact with but don't know that well, and get to know them. Perform a random act of kindness. Volunteer for something that you're passionate about.
Which is how I want to live in the following year; making incredible memories with the ones that I love. It could be something big like a road trip/vacation, or a small gesture like throwing a send off shindig for a friend. Either way, I want it to be filled with joy and those that have helped me become the person that I am today.
Materialism only lasts for so long; it's the memories that keep what matters alive.