As the saying goes, this is the season for giving. Yet for some, including myself, the giving is often focussed on just a few days.

For the rest of the month of December, we’re running around frantically trying to wrap things up – not just the presents we’ve purchased but various end-of-year projects – both work and personal – that have piled up the previous months.

As a result, this season of giving – intended to bring joy and appreciation – can instead take away our energy and goodwill.

In an attempt to break the cycle and ground myself in the true spirit of the season,  I plan on giving at least one gift every day in December.

What does this look like in practice? I’m not sure.

I imagine on some days, I may make a donation to a charity doing good in the world, maybe pay for a stranger’s meal in a restaurant where I’m eating. I could give a compliment to someone who looks like they could use one. Or take a pause from the craziness to give someone I care about my time and appreciation.

On this last point, let me share a gift I received yesterday from my oldest daughter. Many years ago, we took guitar lessons together. As is often the case, her interest shifted to other activities and the lessons stopped. I still play the guitar occasionally as a means to relax and relieve stress. Her’s has not left its case in at least a year or two.

Yesterday was a particularly stressful day for me so I picked up my guitar to play a few songs. Out of nowhere, much to my surprise and delight, she walked into my room with her guitar in hand and asked if she could play with me.

I could not have asked for a more precious gift. She is a natural musician blessed with a beautiful voice. Within a few minutes it was like we were transported back to when she was a little girl and we would regularly play concerts in our living room while the rest of the family looked on and occasionally sang along.

I get choked up even typing that last line – a reflection of how much I loved those days and relished the opportunity, if just for one night, to relive them.

Time is perhaps the greatest gift we have to give one another. Yet it is often elusive.  Its passing is both swift and bittersweet but its value appreciates exponentially over time.

We played just five or six songs but that memory will most likely last longer than any physical objects we unwrap on Christmas.

I hope your giving this month takes many forms and stretches out over as many days as possible.  And that you might be lucky enough to receive such a gift as I did yesterday.

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