Presence, not Presents

With only a week until Christmas, I’d like to remind people to prioritize bonding and interaction with family, friends and children over “things.” We are bombarded with the American way of acquiring things, of advertisements, of keeping up with the Joneses that we often overlook opportunities to make a difference and connect with people that stare us right in the face. More and more we are becoming addicted to our media devices, and it’s “yeah, yeah” when our kids say something to us, versus actually taking some time to actually listen and interact.  I know, I’m just as guilty as anyone with getting sucked into the vortex that is my phone.

Like the Grinch found out, it’s not the presents or ribbons or X-Boxes or trappings that make the holidays so special.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Grinch

When I think back on my childhood, there were a few great memories of that awesome Christmas present like the original Nintendo (played duck hunt and Mario for hours), but mostly I remember passing the days with my family, playing legos and cribbage and The Dukes of Hazzard Card Game (from the makers of Uno).  We laughed and ribbed each other and were all present in each other’s company.  We left school and work and television out of minds.  Instead we went ice skating and sledding, made snow forts, froze our asses off, only to come home and have hot chocolate and warm back up before doing it again.  Those are some of my fondest childhood memories.  Not passing the 140th level of Candy Crush, or getting engrossed in an angry birds match.

Try and keep this in mind as you head into the holidays with extended time with your immediate family.  Take some time to connect (or reconnect as it may be), play some actual board games, build a fort in the snow or living room, and refresh and recharge as we come up to a calendar flip.  These are the memories that your kids will cherish as they grow up, and I believe are the foundational building blocks that help establish your relationship with them for their entire life.  This is how I hope to spend most of my time over a much needed break over the holidays, that is, when I’m not working on the book (which is slowly coming along over the last few weeks after being shelved for nearly a year).  Stay up!

6 Responses to Presence, not Presents

  1. These are the memories that your kids will cherish as they grow up, and I believe are the foundational building blocks that help establish your relationship with them for their entire life.

    Amen, AMD!

    Great post…happy holidays!

  2. So true! I’m giving up the i(diot)phone, which I only use to obsessively check emails, and cable as of the 20th, as in canceled the contract, paid the fees, the day my kids are out of co-op and all mine all day long. I don’t pretend for a minute that I love every conversation we have, or that I hang on every word they speak, but they’re delicious to ignore while I stare at them and think of ways to get us all into trouble. A mothers work is never, ever, done. I have a four foot square puzzle of the Last Supper, and old school Battleship, huge piles of leaves, etc. It’s looking promising…

  3. And Merry Christmas – terrific post. Be well.

  4. Wow, really great to be reminded of this! Great post and something worth reminding people of every year.

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