My parents were fond of telling me how much I preferred the boxes to whatever gift was in them when I was a child. That didn't last into adulthood.
I was very spoiled with presents for most of my life. And over the years of grand gifts, I came to know the greatest gifts were from the heart, whether they came with a hefty price tag or cost less than a dollar to produce.
My son was able to fix up a used golf cart for me to ride around my neighborhood with my grandchildren, and I was literally thrilled. I still recall that first ride with them as one of the happiest moments of my life. He left the cart in my driveway for me to find and had fun doing so, although not quite as much as I had finding it there. I could tell how happy he was to have delivered my heart's desire and the love behind it made it just that much more wonderful.
Two of my granddaughters are writers and each has used that skill to express love in various gifts. Heather gave me a grandmother book once and had read the selections, pointing out her favorites that spoke to both of us. That book and a card expressing in picture and words what our relationship has meant to us will be with me always.
Bre cut out a large snowflake on which she wrote loving messages and it hangs in my home office. I experience Christmas every time I go into that room and I smile from my heart. She also gave me little diamond earrings years ago, bought with her own money when she was in grade school. I have other larger diamond earrings but none I treasure more.
I've already asked for what I want for Christmas this year. I want time. I want to spend an hour or two, one on one, with my grandchildren.
Whatever the price tag on a gift, any gift is multiplied when given with both thought and love - not the word Love written on a tag, but heartfelt Love given freely. It is easy to tell the difference.
And here is the best gift to give our children. Don't guilt them into spending any holiday dutifully stopping in to visit each and every elder. I have told my children for years that they can visit us or go to their in-laws or a friend's home or stay in their own home on any holiday. Come visit us on any Tuesday or Thursday when it is convenient and we can eat turkey - or spaghetti - and celebrate being together. When they come, I want to know they want to be with us.
Gifts are great and I appreciate them, all the while knowing that what makes a gift meaningful is giving it from the heart.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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