Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.
There’s something about the music, the classic movies, the ancient stories, the food, the gifts, and the quality time with family that makes this particular holiday uniquely special to so many people around the globe. As a child, one of the most exciting things in the world was running down the steps with my siblings and parents on Christmas morning to open each of the presents tucked underneath our tree.
As a parent, one of my greatest joys is giving gifts to my children and seeing the excitement on their faces as they open each one. Giving good gifts to those we love is such a fun and rewarding experience; however, there is something that we can give to our children and families that is much more valuable than any present we can buy – that is the gift of our presence. In fact, what our families need the most is our time and love. Our children might be living for more things, but they are dying for more love… and for most kids (and adults for that matter) love is spelled T.I.M.E.
Undoubtedly – many of us are busy, especially during this time of year, but the hard truth is that we will always find time for what we value the most. So here’s the question that each of us would do well to consider this holiday season: What do I want my family to value? Is there anything inherently wrong with buying gifts for each other? Absolutely not. However, people should always be more important than presents. In fact, until we realize that the most important things in life are not things – no thing will ever be enough.
Businesses rely on the fact that we as humans fill the voids we feel inside with more stuff, rather than realizing that the greatest satisfaction we can have in life comes from contentment and deep-rooted relationships – which are two things that you can’t place a price tag on. So, while I hope that you enjoy giving good gifts to your loved ones this Christmas… I would also like for each of us to consider that possibly the greatest gift we could offer our spouse/ children in 2019 is the gift of our undistracted time and unreserved love.
When it comes to investing into more time with our loved ones, it’s important to remember that quality time is often more important than quantity time. For each of the single parents, doctors, business owners, entrepreneurs (etc.) out there – you may not have the margin in your lives to spend hours of uninterrupted time with your spouse or children each day; however, you can decide to make every moment that you do have count.
Here are some time tips that could help you capitalize on the moments that can make a monumental difference in the lives of those you love the most:
Most of us enjoy eating a decent meal each night. What might it look like to establish dinner time as a non-negotiable connection point. Invite the kids to help you cook. Sit next to your spouse and hold their hand. Get everyone involved in cleaning up and washing the dishes. Enjoy the time together.
2. Run Errands Together
This may seem silly, but try to bring your spouse or children with you when you’re out running errands. Is it going to “take longer”? Probably. But what if you used the time in the car to play music they like or to just simply take interest in them by asking thoughtful questions. Stopping to get your child a little treat just might make them feel like they’re valuable to you and when has that ever been a bad thing?
3. Include the Entire Family in Bathtime / Bedtime:
If you’re like my wife and I, bedtime and bathtime can become a divided task where one of us is cleaning and the other is taking care of bathing the children, or where (let’s just be honest) one of us is taking care of bedtime and the other is chilling on the couch watching Netflix. It may feel awkward at first, but singing songs together at bathtime, telling funny stories and just being together during a time of limited distractions can be a powerful practice to integrate into your family.