The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?

The holidays should be a pleasant time. For many people it’s a family thing and enjoying one another’s company is an important component. It almost goes without saying that it’s become far too commercialized, and many parents, including me especially when my children were young, want to fulfill the gift wishes of our children. Some people become obsessed with getting just the right gifts of the right brand or label. Our wishes for things are fleeting. What we want materially soon becomes old, broken, forgotten, or outdated.

The most valuable gift that most people can give these days is time. And what’s better than time really focused on the other people we value, what better gift can we give. Giving kids the short shrift while we go present-searching isn’t as important as making decorations, ornaments, or cookies with them. Doing things like going to the movies, ice-skating, fun-outings, even going around your neighborhood or downtown to see special decorations. A concert or ballet might even be appropriate. And for many, church services, concerts, and parties.

We’ve also lost the art of playing together — I’m guilty of it. Games are a great way to interact, and on the days around a major holiday, when kids are home from school, a couple of hours playing games they enjoy is a wonderful way to spend time, and these days, special. They’re great at being able to entertain themselves playing games on the computer, but that’s not social interaction or developing relationships. Hand-to=hand combat in a Game of Thrones is more challenging and character building.

At a time in our lives when we had less money and more young children, my sister and I decided to give just Christmas ornaments to each other’s children. That took some pressure off, and it was fun selecting those.

I remember Kathy Lee Gifford saying on her show perhaps 15-20 years ago that her children got three presents each (who knows what they were), because that’s all the Christ child got. Considering that most kids also get things from grandparents and some others, this really isn’t a bad idea.

Anything that can take pressure off at the holidays, and enable people to enjoy one another more is great and rare.

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