A free holiday


I LOVE Christmas.  The holiday season is the one time of year where everyone is nicer to each other, and the whole world seems to finally support the go-hard in the paint for fun and happiness approach… Which I use every day, so it’s nice to have some company.  Seriously, I teared up watching a family put up twinkle lights.  And every time I see them it’s all I can do to not crash.

But, times are ROUGH.  A lot of folks have no idea what to get loved ones, family, friends.  So, whether you just can’t stomach the idea of an expensive Christmas (me either) or really can’t afford one… I give you freebies.

Gifts from the heart, are the least expensive kind.

Years ago I remember my dad had one of those moments where life and the dangers it presents scared him, for us… He pulled us all close and cried as he told us how much he loved us, that we never need anything but each other. Poignant as it was, that night was a priceless and irreplaceable gift.

That, more than anything is what I love about the holidays.  It’s all love.  Yes, I put up a tree.  And I wrap gifts for myself so I can relish the nostalgic feel of unwrapping things… While reminding myself how unnecessary “gifts” really are.  Everyone makes fun of me for it.  But there’s something powerfully liberating about making a purchase and then being humble enough to say, it is a blessing that I could buy this, when I have all that I need.

It’s never occurred to me to want for anything because I’ve always been able to find a way to get my grubby little hands on my wants, or to get over them.

Here are some classic, old-fashioned tips should you need them as the 25th rolls near…  The key is to be open, and let the syrupy sweet mushy sentimental holiday feeling take over.  What makes these gifts work, is you have to be willing to share your feelings.  No room for thoughtlessness or callousness, or unfeeling here.

  1. You: Make a promise to someone you love to spend an afternoon with them, or an evening. Make them dinner, or bake for them, or pamper them with your attention.  Put it in a card and honor your word.
  2. Write them a letter about how much they, or your friendship means to you.  It can be funny, sentimental, whatever.
  3. Give them a book you’ve read, that meant something to you.
  4. If you have a talent, share it with them.  Leave a singing voice message, recite a beautiful poem, read a meaningful passage of scripture to them.
  5. Make them something.  We all went to kindergarten.  Get out your paper and scissors and crayons if you have to.  It will get a hearty laugh and put a smile on their face.
  6. Cook or bake something.  If you don’t know how to cook or bake, save yourself.  Your holidays might be numbered: Survival and stuff.
  7. Give them something of yours they’ve admired.
  8. Give a big hug, genuine grin, and sincere I love you.  It’s ok, you do.  If you’re fretting about what to give someone to show you care, you love ’em.  Even just a little bit and that’s ok.  Tell them.
  9. Promise a favor.  Agree to listen to them.  Agree to babysit for them.  Agree to help them with their next heavy lifting need, or party, or project, no questions asked. Put it in a card.
  10. Shine.  There’s nothing more wonderful than shiny happy people holding hands.  Folks who would scoff at this list are neither shining nor happy.  But they can’t really help but glow a little bit in your light if you keep it lit.

We’re alive.  Let’s honor life by showing our appreciation for every little bit of it this Christmas!

(Singing) “Me, I want a hula hoop…”

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