Time: It’s the perfect gift. The Authors Collection.

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When my children were little, one of my favorite gifts to give them came about as a solution to not having as much money as I wished to buy them presents.

However, before I discovered the solution I did something else. I traded my time for money.

I spent one pre-Christmas season working an extra job, my most hated job ever. This in itself tells you something, because given some of the jobs that I have done, there are others that are much more qualified for this position!

Beca Lewis
Beca Lewis

This was the one where I worked out of a little booth in the mall, in front of a Sear’s store.  I sold – that really shouldn’t be the word because I didn’t sell anything, the word should be – babysat – fake flowers frozen in some kind of metal. It wasn’t the cart, it wasn’t the flowers that pushed it to the worst job ever for me, although they didn’t help, it was the absolute boredom that drove me crazy.

I had already worked a long job during the day, one that didn’t pay much but soon would. However, at the time, I thought I needed extra money to buy my kids more gifts for Christmas.  So I worked all day, and then this other hateful job into the evening for the many long, long, long weeks leading up to the big day.

Now, I look back and wonder if that was the right gift to give them.  No, I don’t wonder at all.  I know now that it wasn’t.  They didn’t need more things that year. It had been a hard year for all of us. What they really needed was their mom home at night.

Trading time for money for gifts was a mistake. I could have given a perfect gift, my time with the ones I loved.

Which brings me back to the non-money – involved gifts I learned to give them.  I gave them gifts that said things like, “Trade this in for a movie night with mom, your favorite dessert, your favorite meal, a trip to the store, a day with just you and me,” you get the idea.  Those gifts lasted all year, and I can remember some of those times with them even now.

TheDailyShift-FrontCoverI don’t remember what I bought them that year I worked extra hours for money.

These gifts of time, or caring, or support, or understanding, are perfect gifts. These perfect gifts make visible to others that we honor them, remember them, and love them.

Perfect gifts are given as people respond to another’s needs with what resources they have to offer.  Sometimes perfect gifts come wrapped in packages. Sometimes they come wrapped in a smile or a hug.  They are love and gratitude solidified, which makes whatever the gift, a perfect gift.

We received many, many perfect gifts during this last trip around the sun.  They look like people who regularly come to the classes we teach, and share their joy with us.  They look like people who send notes of encouragement, support, and inspiration that keep each day filled with meaning. It looks like people who help edit and perfect what I write and what Del produces, and then pass them on to others.

It’s not just people that bring perfect gifts.  There are the birds that sing and cavort for us, the squirrels that play at work, and the deer that demonstrate grace as they walk through our yard.

It’s the songs, the poems, the stories shared through social media, or by someone standing directly in front of us.  It’s the smile of a child, a greeting at the checkout line, a word of encouragement.

What these perfect gifts have in common is not the size, or the money spent. It is that they reflect, in unique and beautiful ways, our awareness of each other’s gift of being. It is a sharing of ourselves in whatever ways are available to us.

At the core of all perfect gifts, it is Love that impels and graces the offering. And it is within Love, that I say thank you for all perfect gifts given and received.

Please click the book cover image to read more about Beca Lewis and her books.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Beca, knowing you, I bet you gave your children every spare minute of time you had. Often, however, it’s not the time you give them that counts. It’s the love, and they never felt short-changed on love.

    • Beca Lewis

      Oh Caleb – thank you! I truly hope so!

  • We didn’t even get the tree up this year – but all three kids came home for Christmas.

    I didn’t actually get anyone a present – but took the new girlfriend and the daughter to be part of the Christmas Eve choir (and then a Kickstarter delivered some books I had ordered).

    The house was barely cleaned in the worst spots – but we made several hilarious batches of decorated Christmas cookies.

    It wasn’t elaborate – but the new girlfriend got introduced to several Muppet movie favorites so she could start bonding with our bunch of crazies.

    Nothing expensive – but husband made a wonderful pozole and, for the very first time, two people I had invited to join us came. They added wonderfully to the season as we watched said Muppet movies wrapped in blankets.

    I wouldn’t trade any of the time spent for money or other tangibles.

    • Beca Lewis

      That sounds wonderful Alicia!

  • Darlene Jones

    Time is always our most precious gift – to ourselves and to others.

    • Beca Lewis

      Isn’t that the truth Darlene! We too often forget ourselves!

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