Remember what the “true” gifts of Christmas really are

I’ve always believed with age comes humility – a clearer sense of what is truly valuable in our lives.

As children the holidays are a time of continual receiving – not giving – and for some this ideal continues well into adulthood. But I fully believe that anyone who’s journeyed long enough through the ups and downs of life understands that the holidays are a time for remembrance. A time to recall Christmas’ of yesterday, which no longer exist anywhere but in our hearts and in our minds. A time to remember that Christmas is about you and me – the people who make it special.

It’s during this time of year that my wife and I display a book entitled “The Christmas Letters” written by Bret Nicholaus. The book is short – so much so that page numbers aren’t required. And yet its message is profound and inspiring for anyone during the holiday season.

The story is set on Christmas Eve. The grandfather of the family, often quiet and reserved, asks for everyone’s attention. With great sincerity he speaks from his heart to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild saying simply, “This may be the last Christmas I get to spend with each of you, so I want to give each of you a letter.”

Each letter contained a personal story of how every family member brought some special joy into his life on the holidays – more than any gift wrapped in shinny paper and bows could ever accomplish. From the book: “Whether he meant to do it or not, grandpa was delivering a lesson worth remembering: it’s the little things in life that often mean the most.”

No matter what gifts you might put under the tree during this holiday season, having someone there to share it with will be the greatest gift you’ll ever receive. For as Burton Hillis once said, “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”