The season of giving is upon us.  Gift giving seems to have changed over the years. We go online, we look for deals, we pay for things that we probably can’t afford, all in an effort to get that perfect gift for every person on our list.  Why the struggle? Maybe we are heaping on a whole year of gratitude and love and trying to express that in one box. That’s a pretty tall order. What if we reconsidered gift giving and found ways to spread love and gratitude throughout the year?

There was a woman who worked at Panera where I live. We would chat every time I went in – – sometimes weeks would go by and I didn’t see her.  She always asked about the kids and although she was sick for sometime, she always had a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone.  A few years ago Doug received a turkey from his company. I knew from our conversations that it was going to be difficult for Edna to buy a bird for the holidays so I brought it to her along with an apple pie that I had made and a Christmas picture of the kids.  The tears of gratitude warmed my heart. When I would see her over the course of the year, she would tell me that the picture of my kids was still on her refrigerator and it would make her smile when she saw it. I baked Edna a pie every year after that. But for the past month or two she has not been in Panera.  Someone told me she was sick again, the new employees did not even know who she was. She made an impact on my life every week and I hope she knows how much she was appreciated.

Christmas is a great time to tell someone how you feel but we need to be better at expressing our feelings every day. Life is too short and uncertain. Let’s not wait for the perfect moment or search for the perfect gift.  Take the time to express gratitude throughout the year.  Little, unexpected gestures are often more cherished than lavish gifts.  And if there is something you want to do with someone you love, do it.  Take that trip, go to dinner, meet for coffee.  Someday is too far away. Be kind. Be patient. Share your gifts with others. Find peace and happiness in this crazy world and do your best to make it just a little bit better. Isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

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