Your Presence is the Best Present

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by Kim McCreery No Comments

We have all seen it. Adult children go to the mega malls and shop the pricey stores and specialty shops for the fancy gifts and then do the lovely gift wrapping. For an upgraded price, of course, Dillard’s or Macy’s will lavish the heavy embossed paper and velvety ribbon with metal threads to wrap your gift choices. They’ll handle shipping too and enclose a card with your name, often written by someone else.
Yes, while gifts are a tradition of giving at this holiday season for many families, it is really presence that counts the most.
How do I know? It’s easy—recall, reminisce, ask and then give.gift box
Remember what meant the most to you in your childhood. What are your best memories of your favorite people? Do you still value the wrapped gifts of yesterday today? Or do you recall the moments spent with the people you loved and who loved you?
Throughout life we collect and compile events and moments of emotion—the feelings we had when we spent time together doing something special or simply being ourselves together. Although a gift might have been involved, it’s the emotions that come back and relived over and over. There is always the sense of warmth, caring, togetherness, loving attention, the slight admonition to try harder, the pride of being praised for something well done.
It is not an intellectual behavior nor do physical skills that makes you feel good, but rather an emotional experience that we tend to remember fondly. It is the associated feelings, the attitudes and the senses that we recall. It is awareness and affection, acceptance, and the unconditional value placed upon us by others that we remember fondly.
We remember something like Grandma’s preserves spread on just-baked bread served in that aromatic kitchen and the times spent learning to cook in her kitchen. It was that welcoming smell of baking treats that remain, the pride you sensed when she presented you with very old family recipes to keep the traditions going but especially the times spent with her.
Many adult children recall their own parents with pleasant memories – Mom patiently waiting to help you finish yet another book report or Dad running alongside the bike to keep us safe as we learned to ride without incident. Or both parents sitting through yet another soccer game, recital or play, always proud to tell you and everyone else how well you had performed.
I really didn’t need to ask, but did. What was something my own mother recalled among her “best presents”? My own mother always recalls the “special salsa” she and her grandson (my son) would make when they got together preparing for holiday time. He could not afford presents, but he could drive 60 miles round trip to see her and spend time with her in her home at holiday time. She loved that together time and delights in talking about it.
The second instance concerned her other grandchild. Mom fondly recalled my young niece’s presence as she taught her to cook while they both worked in Grandma’s kitchen making family favorites for the holidays.
No, Mom never recalls department store stuff. Instead, she appreciates the time of presence with either of her two grandchildren. That was when it connected for me.
The gift of presence is better than presents.
But now it is your turn as an adult child to consider what to give to your parent this holiday season. Will you succumb to “as seen on TV” advertising, seasonal online promotions, or elaborate (but virtually empty) gift baskets purchased from catalogs?
The gift of our presence is a present that endures and that our dear ones especially want and appreciate. Our presence makes the memory. Our presence will later evoke emotion and endearment and a sense of caring for one another.
At this time of heightened commercialism and grand expense, it is comforting to know that it is not the cost that counts, but the personal effort of self to our parents.
Don’t forget to give the gift of presence this Holiday season!

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