This is not something I’m proud of, but I hardly ever give gifts. And at this time of year, it makes me feel like a Grinch.

When people ask me whether I’m ready for Christmas, I’m never sure how to answer. By the way, the same thing holds true for birthdays, anniversaries and any other socially sanctioned holidays.

Are you ready for the holidays?

But back to the “are you ready” question. Do I smile and say, “yes, I’m ready” since I know full well that I don’t spend much time pondering the gift list? Or do I admit that I don’t really do Christmas gifts.

Instead, this is what happens around my house.

  • With my kids, I take them shopping so they can get what they Then they wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree.
  • With my sister, we’ve called a “truce” on gift giving.
  • With our respective nieces – my sister and I each have three daughters – we give cash, even though it seems so impersonal. But most of us could use some!

After all these years, I feel like I’m not very good at gift giving. And I’ve been getting down on myself about it.

It’s not about the stuff

That’s when my daughter heard me lamenting in one of those down moments. And she said, “Mom, you’re not a Grinch! You’re thoughtful and considerate. You just show it in different ways.”

That’s when I had the insight that giving gifts in a formal way is not what matters most. Frankly, it’s not about the stuff.

The truth is, gifts are simply a way to express that you care about someone, that you appreciate them, and that you’ve been thinking about them.

Now, if you want to give gifts at those expected times of year, that’s wonderful. And if you’re gifted at choosing just the right present for each person, you must go for it!

There are many ways to show caring, appreciation and thoughtfulness

For the rest of us, it’s helpful to remember that:

My way of giving gifts is through my time and attention, and I do it when the situation arises rather than on a pre-determined occasion.

For example:

  • My eldest daughter loves creating a warm holiday atmosphere, and wanted me to help her choose a Christmas tree. So, I went with her to pick a tree, even though I was tired and still had lots of work to do. She found a tree and we had a great time.
  • My middle daughter is a basketball player, and I carved out Sunday afternoon to travel an hour each way to watch her game and then celebrate their win. This meant a lot to her.
  • When my youngest daughter was deciding which college to attend, I took her around to see the ones she was choosing between for a second time. She appreciated feeling more comfortable with her choice.

Take the pressure off

So, don’t feel bound by the holiday season. Take the pressure off of yourself – you have all year to express your most precious gifts of caring, appreciation and thoughtfulness.

What’s your way of showing your care, appreciation and thoughtfulness for people who matter in your life?

Leave a comment and let me know.

And most importantly..